Ravens sign safety Jayron Kearse to practice squad
The Baltimore Ravens have brought in some much-needed depth at the safety position by signing Jayron Kearse to their practice squad.
The fifth-year pro has 12 career starts between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions, including a career-high seven this season with the Lions. He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Vikings after being drafted in the seventh round out of Clemson in 2016.
He was waived by Detroit on Monday for reportedly violating team rules before their Week 16 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In his first opportunity as a starter, Kearse recorded 59 total tackles, two passes defensed a forced fumble, and a quarterback hit with the Lions.
If his last name sounds familiar it is because he is the nephew of three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jevon Kearse who played in the league from 1999-2009 and earned the nickname ‘The Freak’ because he was known just as much for his incredible and intimidating physique as he was for his prowess as a dominant pass rusher.
Kearse is not quite the sheer physical specimen that his uncle was and probably still is but at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, he is bigger than the typical player is at his position. He was a first-team All-American in his final season at Clemson in 2015 and was projected to come off the draft board much higher than he ended up being the following spring.
With his rare blend of size and athleticism, Kearse would be an excellent addition to the Ravens’ sub-packages on defense especially in the dime where he can come in and replace or play next to inside linebacker Chris Board in obvious passing situations since he possesses superior coverage skills.
Ravens Defensive Coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale has experimented with veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith in a hybrid safety role when he’s been healthy this year but hasn’t had a true third safety since the team released Marcus Gilchrist on Oct.27 after a solid showing in two games.
Adding Kearse into the mix in the backend once he gets a semblance of an understanding of the system or can at least be utilized in a simplified role in man coverage will give the Ravens even greater defensive flexibility.
It will allow the creative mastermind that Martindale is to shine by allowing him to scheme and dial-up even more deceptive coverages and pressures to confuse, confound and harass opposing quarterbacks and their offenses.