The Baltimore Ravens relied on safety DeShon Elliott in a big way during the 2020 season after the release of Earl Thomas III. The team had the former University of Texas star step into Thomas’ old role as the starting free safety with just a few weeks to go until the start of the regular season, which was a huge responsibility.
Elliott performed well during the year, finishing his first season as a starter with 80 total tackles and two forced fumbles. When asked about being more comfortable in his role as he heads into 2021, Elliott said that the game has slowed down for him, and even mentioned that he hoped his former teammate in Thomas is doing well.
“Well, first off, I hope Earl [Thomas III] is doing well. God bless him. But second, I just feel like last year, when I came into the role, it was more of a mindset of … Excuse my language; it was like, ‘Don’t [mess] up,’ and that was my job. So, I’m not competing for a spot on this team. I’m competing to be the best safety in the league. Now, I just feel like, being on this defense and having a year under my belt … I feel like I really didn’t grasp the speed of the game on the defense until like the playoffs, so I feel like coming out here – even in OTAs – I was moving faster, I can break on things quicker. I see it. I see it. The game has slowed down for me now, so now it’s time for me to go out here and do what I do.”
It looked like Elliott was getting more and more comfortable in his role with each game that he played during 2020. He was also able to make it through the entire season without any injuries, which was a big development for the safety. Elliott had only played in six games throughout his first two years as a professional, so hopefully his fully healthy year is a sign of good things to come.
Now that Elliott has had a full year to get used to what it’s like being a starter at the NFL level, he’ll most likely have even more responsibilities placed on his shoulders during 2021. He showed that he can handle the spotlight, and now it’s his time to continue to build and prove that he wasn’t a one-year wonder. Elliott has the tools and the mindset to become one of the best safeties in the league, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him truly break out this season.