Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti made it clear in a conference call with permanent seat license holders Tuesday night that the organization's focus is on adding an offensive lineman, not on signing an available wide receiver such as Eric Decker or Anquan Boldin.
"If I don't get an offensive lineman, somebody is going to start shooting at me. If I have one bullet left in that gun, I better save it for an offensive lineman," Bisciotti said. "I think right now, we have a lot of confidence in Chris Moore to be our fourth wideout and let the competition begin with the fifth and sixth wideout. [Michael] Campanaro, as you know, has to stay healthy and Keenan Reynolds is developing. Chris Matthews is doing some nice things in camp and did nice things last year in camp. I'd say that I don't think that we have room for a starter at wide receiver now and I do think there's going to be some talent out there that could challenge for a starting position on our offensive line. I think I'm going to save that last punch for an offensive lineman."
In a conference call that lasted an hour and was joined by 3,000 season-ticket holders, Bisciotti was asked twice about general manager Ozzie Newsome's plans to beef up the offensive line. At the start of mandatory minicamp today, the Ravens had 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley at left guard, 2016 fourth-rounder Alex Lewis at left guard, John Urschel at center, Ryan Jensen at right guard and James Hurst at right tackle.
Stanley and Lewis are entrenched at their spots. Marshal Yanda, a perennial Pro Bowl performer who had offseason shoulder surgery, will be the starting right guard when he's ready to return. However, the Ravens did not replace right tackle Rick Wagner, who signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency, or center Jeremy Zuttah who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
Their options at right tackle include Hurst, who has started 16 regular-season games over his first three seasons; Jermaine Eluemunor, a rookie fifth-round pick; and De'Ondre Wesley and Stephane Nembot, who both spent last season on injured reserve. They also have discussed moving Lewis to right tackle, but he's yet to get any first-team repetitions there in minicamps.
At center, the Ravens have given three players first-team reps: Urschel, Jensen and 2016 undrafted free agent Matt Skura.
"Work-in progress is all I can tell you," said Bisciotti when asked about the offensive line. "We all take our cue from Ozzie and have learned over the years that if you're patient, things like Elvis Dumervil will fall to you, and Jeremy Maclins will fall to you. We've got time, we've got some money and we're quite sure that some offensive line help is going to shake out."
Bisciotti also reminded fans of the team's track record in drafting and developing offensive linemen, pointing to the success of Wagner, a fifth-round pick in 2013 who started 47 regular-season games over four seasons, and Lewis' solid rookie year after he was taken in the fourth round.
"I'm not expecting people to be excited about a fourth- and fifth-round offensive lineman, but our fourth- and fifth-[round] offensive linemen last year did pretty darn well," Bisciotti said. "If something comes up on the free-agent market that we think is better than what we have, we've still got money, we've still got draft picks to trade, we've still got some deep positions that we can trade [from]. I know we've got some people on defense and we're pretty deep there. If an offensive lineman came available and they wanted somebody that we had and we felt we had some depth at that position, then Ozzie will make that call, too. I'm very confident in mid-June, we've gotten most of our needs checked off and we'll continue to look for offensive linemen."
The challenge for Newsome and company is that so few accomplished offensive linemen are available. Ryan Clady, Austin Pasztor, Orlando Franklin and Cyrus Kouandjio head the list of available tackles. Nick Mangold and Cody Wallace are probably the top two available centers.
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The Ravens hosted Mangold on a free-agent visit in early April, but it isn't clear whether there's been any traction for a deal since.