As the first offensive lineman selected in the 2016 NFL draft, Ronnie Stanley has been saddled with high expectations harbored by Ravens officials, fans and especially himself.

After completing his rookie campaign, the sixth overall pick out of Notre Dame has demonstrated to coach John Harbaugh that he is on pace to meet those expectations.


"I feel like he's the kind of guy who's going to improve dramatically from one day to the next and one year to the next and become, I believe, a premier left tackle in this league. And that's our job to get him there," Harbaugh said during his season-ending news conference on Tuesday. "I just think he's smart, he's tough, he's willing to work hard, and he listens."

Harbaugh's high assessment of the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Stanley, who started 12 games at left tackle, is shared by a pair of football websites. Pro Football Focus gave Stanley an 81.1 grade – which ranked 25th among all offensive tackles – over 834 snaps and identified him as the highest-graded tackle over the last four contests.

"Outside of one wretched game earlier in the year against Pittsburgh, he has been playing pretty well, especially in pass protection, and seems to be hitting his best form," author Sam Monson wrote prior to Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale. "Stanley looks like a quality offensive tackle going forward."

Stanley was ranked as the 18th-best rookie by, trailing Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin at No. 8, Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker at No. 16, and Miami Dolphins left guard Laremy Tunsil at No. 17 among offensive linemen.

"Stanley missed four games earlier this season, but when he was in the lineup, he played very well," analyst Daniel Jeremiah wrote. "He had sound technique and played with excellent awareness."

Stanley sat out those four games because of a foot injury. That setback slowed his development, but Harbaugh said Stanley proved more than willing to learn and grow.

"I feel like Ronnie is a guy that's very coachable, and he's very smart," Harbaugh said. "Plus, he's talented. He really struggled in the middle of the year after he got hurt because he was away from the game. He just couldn't practice. He's a guy that doesn't have a lot of reps under his belt. What he gained through training camp, he lost when he got hurt. He came back and didn't play well, especially the first week back. After that, he got a little better every week until about three or four weeks later, he was playing at a high level for a rookie."

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