Each weekday through April 24, the day before the first round of the NFL draft, The Sun will look at where the Ravens stand at each position, the likelihood that they will address that spot early in the draft and some of the prospects that they may consider.
Today we’ll examine the offensive line:
Current offensive linemen under contract: Center – Gino Gradkowski, Reggie Stephens; Guard –
Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, Antoine McClain; Tackle – Michael Oher, Ramon Harewood, Jah Reid, Jack Cornell, David Mims.
Chances that the Ravens draft an offensive lineman in first three rounds: Decent. The Ravens
really like some of their young offensive linemen but they have a big hole at left tackle. They could opt to re-sign Bryant McKinnie and General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Tuesday that those talks are ongoing but that would be a short-term move and they’d still need to find a long-term answer on quarterback Joe Flacco’s blindside. The issue is there are three left tackles in the draft that figure to be NFL starters immediately and all will be long gone by the time the Ravens pick at 32. The Ravens value their picks so sacrificing a couple of them to move into the top third of the first round appears unlikely. It’s not out of the question that the Ravens draft a center if they deem Gradkowski not ready to fill the retired Matt Birk’s shoes, or a guard, which would allow them to move Oseleme to tackle.
Possibly on Ravens’ radar: Center – Braxston Cave (Notre Dame), Barrett Jones (Alabama), Brian Schwenke (California); Tackles/Guards - Terron Armstead (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), D.J. Fluker (Alabama), Justin Pugh (Syracuse), Menelik Watson (Florida State), Brennan Williams (North Carolina).
Outlook: Barring injuries, four of the five pieces on the Ravens’ starting offensive line appear set with Gradkowski, Yanda, Osemele and Oher. But only Gradkowski and Yanda are essentially locked into a position. The Ravens’ offense started clicking when McKinnie was inserted into the lineup at left tackle, Oher moved from left to right tackle and Osemele transitioned from right tackle to left guard. Still, team officials maintain that they haven’t ruled out using Oher and Osemele at the two tackle spots again but with a twist. Head coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that if the season started soon, Osemele would be the starter at left tackle. He didn’t play that position at all last season. The draft could tell a lot about the direction that the Ravens plan to go. A failure to land a tackle and one would think that re-signing McKinnie may have to become a priority. Either way, the Ravens will likely use a couple of their 12 picks on the offensive line. They may not be able to land the stud left tackle that they’ve been seeking, but they will be able to add youth and depth to this group.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun