Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees talks about Steelers players and big plays. (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun video)
Even for a guy who ran the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds, Tavon Young thinks his rookie campaign with the Ravens has gone fast.
The 5-foot-9, 177-pound cornerback has started the last two games opposite Jimmy Smith and appears poised to make his third consecutive start against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday as Shareece Wright missed Thursday's practice because of a pulled hamstring.
The fourth-round pick from Temple admitted that he never imagined making his first start just six games into his first year.
"I thought I was going to be a nickel, but things happen," said Young, who practiced fully for the second consecutive day after sustaining a concussion in a 24-16 loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 23. "Guys got hurt, and I had to step up and play outside."
Young has already made a favorable impression on defense. His two interceptions trail only inside linebacker C.J. Mosley's team-leading three picks, and he has made 17 tackles (15 solo) and one fumble recovery.
The team could have turned to Jerraud Powers or Will Davis to replace Wright, but Young is grateful for the coaching staff's show of faith in him.
"I've just got to show them that they can keep on believing in me and make plays," he said.
On Sunday, Young could be asked to cover Steelers wide receivers Antonio Brown, Sammie Coates or Darrius Heyward-Bey (McDonogh High, Maryland). The 22-year-old Young said he is not intimidated by the possible assignments.