OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is dealing with ongoing adjustments to the secondary.
The Ravens added playmakers in free agency and the draft. It's up to Macdonald to make sure all of the new pieces are cohesive.
One change is that second-year player Brandon Stephens will move from playing safety to seeing more time at cornerback.
Macdonald is pleased with Stephens' adjustments.
“I’m fired up that we have Brandon," Macdonald said. "Obviously, I didn’t know him last year when we drafted him. So, getting to know him this year, and having a conversation with him, one, about his vision for his role that he feels most comfortable, and then as an organization where we need him to play. But he’s a Swiss Army knife.
"He literally can play every position back there. Like we’ve talked about in the past, he just provides us so much flexibility. He’s doing a great job. That whole group, we talk about interchangeable parts and playing different roles, and things like that. It’s coming along.”
The Ravens' secondary added a potentially huge playmaker in rookie first-round pick Kyle Hamilton. The versatile safety has the ability to move around the field and match up against tight ends or play inside the box.
Some pundits claimed that Hamilton was the best overall player in this year's draft.
"We don’t have to feed him to the fire, per se," Macdonald said. "But the thing with Kyle is I don’t think he left off from where he was in the spring. Sometimes that happens with rookies; they take a little dip and need to get caught back up. I keep saying the word trajectory, but he just keeps learning, keeps communicating.
"He’s a very sharp, [a] very smart player, obviously plays fast. He can cover a ton of ground. We have great players back there, too. So, he has to earn his way onto the field.”
The Ravens also added Marcus Williams as a free agent. The safety is already making his presence known in training camp.
Last year for the New Orleans Saints, Williams had a career-high 74 tackles with two interceptions and eight passes defensed. He was also solid in coverage and is an effective hitter.
Williams is only 25 years old and he should be able to help create turnovers, which is an area of focus for the Ravens.
"I’m not worried about Marcus at all," Macdonald said. "He’s really, really smart and communicates really well. You can see his skill set; it’s really easy to see. So, I’m not worried about it at all.”