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It won't be sexy but drafting a left tackle would make sense for Ravens

Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley (78) during the first half of the Shamrock Series NCAA college football game at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, in Boston Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015.
Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley (78) during the first half of the Shamrock Series NCAA college football game at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, in Boston Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s projection that the Ravens could draft Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the sixth overall pick in April's draft seemed to be met with a combination of disapproval and disinterest from Ravens' fans.

It sure wouldn't be a sexy pick. Stanley is not an exciting playmaker like Mississippi's LaQuan Treadwell. He's not a ball-hawking defensive back like Florida State's Jalen Ramsey, and he doesn't get after the quarterback like Ohio State's Joey Bosa.

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But if Stanley becomes a book-end offensive tackle – and draft pundits seem to think that he will – and prevents the Ravens from having to worry about quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside for four or five years, wouldn't you take that?

My guess is general manager Ozzie Newsome would.

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Don't misunderstand: If I was running the Ravens, I would have a real hard time passing up Ramsey, who is unlikely to still be available at pick No.6 anyway, or Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.

But beyond them, I'm probably not taking a wide receiver that early unless Treadwell looks like the second coming of Julio Jones in the pre-draft buildup. And Kiper made it clear that there are really no outside rushers that project to go in the top-10.

It's still early of course and mock drafts, as fun as they are to review, mean absolutely nothing, But drafting a gifted offensive tackle, like Stanley, makes sense with the uncertainty that the Ravens have at the position, and with Flacco, coming off a season-ending knee injury.

Newsome's tepid endorsement last week of last year's starter Eugene Monroe spoke volumes. Despite Monroe entering the third season of a $37.5 million contract, Newsome mentioned Monroe as an option to start, not the solution. That kind of skepticism is warranted after Monroe was able to finish just three games this past season, and he's missed 17 games over the past two years.

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Clearly, the trust between the team and player has broken down.

Kelechi Osemele played pretty well after moving from left guard to left tackle late in the season, but he's an unrestricted free agent and he's about to become a very rich young man. The Ravens have stated that they want to re-sign him and I'm sure their intentions are good. However, they've also shown in the past that they're not going to get in – or win – a bidding word with free agents, and Osemele will inevitably have his share of suitors.

So who does that leave? James Hurst hasn't shown that he's the long-time answer despite getting a lot of playing time. De'Ondre Wesley is a project.

Rick Wagner is entrenched at right tackle, and he has just one season left before he's eligible for free agency. The Ravens will have to worry about re-signing or replacing him in the days ahead.

For now, their focus is on shoring up left tackle. Remember the yearly concerns about who would protect the quarterback's blindside following Jonathan Ogden's retirement?

Drafting Stanley or Mississippi's Laremy Tunsil, who Kiper had going third to the San Diego Chargers, would certainly ease some of the angst.

Offensive tackle is not currently the Ravens' biggest need, but it certainly could be very soon.

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