BY ALEX JOHNSON, @BOILERFROMBMORE
Position: Strong Safety
Weight: 212 lbs.
Experience: 5th Season
Draft Status: Undrafted 2013
In March, the Ravens signed safety Tony Jefferson to a 4-year $34,000,000 contract including a $10M signing bonus. Per Spotrac, the contract guaranteed the young defensive back $19M and has a $5.5M hit on the Ravens' salary cap this season.
Tony Jefferson was an absolute stud at Oklahoma. In his junior season, he received AP Second-Team All American honors and was primed to become a Saturday draft pick. However, a hamstring injury had a huge blow on his combine performance causing him to go undrafted in 2013. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals shortly following the draft.
With a newfound chip on his shoulder, Jefferson was ready to hold his own in a secondary that included stars like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. He slowly became a key part of a defense that went to the NFC Championship Game in 2015, leading to a starting role in the 2016 season. After starting 14 games last year, Jefferson led the Cardinals with 74 tackles.
The hard hitting safety is essentially what the Ravens hoped to have gotten out of Matt Elam, the team's 32nd overall pick in 2013. His run-stopping ability is incredible for a safety. Pro Football Focus showed he had the highest run stop percentage when lined up within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage of all safeties in 2016 with 10.6%. PFF also has Jefferson and Eric Weddle as the top rated safety tandem in the NFL with combined 2016 grades of 181 out of 200.
Obviously the biggest move General Manager Ozzie Newsome made this free agency will fill right in as the starting strong safety. Eric Weddle has even said this offseason that he has never played alongside a safety as smart as Jefferson. He may not be well known in the Charm City quite yet, but very soon we'll all be talking about #23 in purple.