The Baltimore Ravens have plenty of talent in the secondary after revamping the unit this offseason. Drafting Kyle Hamilton and signing Marcus Williams were two of their most prominent moves at safety. Williams is certainly going to start with his massive contract while Hamilton has the pedigree to start Week 1 as one of the best players in this year's draft.
Where does that leave Chuck Clark in the equation? The Ravens don't plan on parting ways with Clark even after their additions to the secondary, but they don't have a role for him in defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald's new system.
At least not yet.
"I think it's so early to tell. We have so many great pieces, and the way we're trying to teach the system is so conceptual," Macdonald said Wednesday. "So, we're really not asking them to play positions, per se, all the time. Guys are expected to learn what that play call entails.
"Right now, to say where someone is going to be given a certain situation is probably way too early. And it will change by situation, by game plan, honestly. Our goal, as coaches, is to find the best 11 guys in any given situation and be able to get them out there so they can go play. I think that's why we're trying to teach it the way we're doing it."
Clark has been with the Ravens since he was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, making 46 starts in 79 games played over the past five seasons. Opposing quarterbacks targeting Clark had an 81.6 passer rating when he was the primary defender last year, as he allowed them to complete 67.4% of their passes and four touchdowns. Last year was Clark's worst season in coverage playing over 100 coverage snaps, as opposing quarterbacks had just a 71.6 passer rating targeting him in 2019 and a 69.5 rating in 2020.
The Ravens gave up the most passing yards in the NFL last season, so revamping the secondary was expected. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are back at cornerback after injury-plagued seasons in 2021, and the team added Kyle Fuller last month. Humphrey missed five games (pectoral muscle tear) and Peters missed the entire season (ACL).
At safety, Clark and DeShon Elliott opened the year, but Elliott went to injured reserve in November with a torn pectoral muscle and torn biceps. Elliott signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency, part of Baltimore switching things up at safety.
The upgrades at secondary have certainly benefited Baltimore in OTAs, already seeing what Hamilton can bring to the safety position in his rookie year. Good players seem to fall to the Ravens in the draft -- and Hamilton looks to be the next one.
"He's doing the things that we're expecting him to do," Macdonald said. "Really, with any rookie and the young guys, the challenge for them is keep finding new stuff to screw up. So, there are a couple things that have happened over the first few days, but he's gotten them corrected.
"And with the rookies, it's a lot, because it's something new every day, so you're trying to learn the new things and fix the other things. So, he's right on schedule, but we don't tell him that – try to provide some sense of urgency for him. But he'll get there. [I'm] really pleased with Kyle."
With Hamilton and Williams in the mix, there will be time to find where Clark fits into the scheme. Regardless of Clark's role, the Ravens will be counting on him to be a major contributor in the secondary this year.