The Ravens have not identified their starting free safety, but Darian Stewart has not been ruled out. While Stewart’s hard-hitting run support skills seem more suited to play strong safety, the Ravens plan on moving Matt Elam to strong safety. Speaking at the NFL owners meetings, Ravens coach John Harbaugh seemed open to the idea of playing Elam and Stewart together. The Ravens signed Stewart as a free agent earlier this month, after he spent his first four seasons with the Rams.
“To me safeties are interchangeable these days,” Harbaugh said, via a transcript provided by the Pro Football Writers of America. “There are certain traits you look for. I’m looking at the safeties now in the draft. You want tacklers and you want guys with range and you want guys with ball skills.”
Staying healthy has been Stewart’s main problem. He has been plagued by hamstring injuries throughout his career. However, Ravens secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo coached Stewart when Spagnuolo was head coach of the Rams. The Ravens feel they can help Stewart stay healthier.
“Darian Stewart is a guy we’re excited about,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a guy we know a little more about than most people because of Steve’s experience with him. He’s a good, young player. I really liked him on the tape. When our fans see him play, they’re going to like the way he plays.
“One of his issues has been durability. He’s had some soft tissue issues over the years and hasn’t been able to play a full season. As soon as he gets here, we’re going to get to work on that.”
The healthier Stewart stays, the better his chances to start.