Don’t make the assumption that rookie Terrence Brooks will be the Ravens’ starting free safety Week 1. Brooks may ultimately win the job, but Darian Stewart is definitely in the mix as a possible starter.
Acquired as a free agent from the Rams, Stewart played for Ravens secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis. With four years of NFL experience, Stewart is picking up the Ravens’ defensive scheme quickly.
“He’s a smart football player, very conscientious, great in the classroom,” said defensive coordinator Dean Pees following Tuesday’s OTA practice. “I’m pleased with where he is right now.
“There’s still a lot of competition out there. I think we just got to wait and see how it sorts itself out through minicamp and then through training camp. We’re a long ways from really naming the guys as starters.”
While the Ravens felt fortunate to get Brooks in the third round, starting him next to second-year safety Matt Elam would give the Ravens one of the league’s youngest safety tandems. The coaches might feel more comfortable starting Stewart, and allowing Brooks to gain more experience. Elam didn’t start Week 1 against the Broncos last season, but Michael Huff played so poorly that he was benched in favor of Elam after just one game.
Stewart has been plagued by hamstring problems during his career, but that has not been a problem during minicamp. If Stewart remains healthy, his competition with Brooks should be one of the more interesting training camp battles.