OLine Must Be Priority For Ravens
The biggest downfall of the 2013 Ravens was the offensive line. The Ravens have much uncertainty at the offensive line position as they approach free agency. There are many things the Ravens want to accomplish this offseason but nothing is more pressing than protecting Joe Flacco and renewing the running game. The Ravens need to solidify the tackle position and provide an upgrade at the center position.
With Pitta locked up to a long term deal it seemed safe to assume Eugene Monroe would get the franchise tag. The Ravens did not apply the tag to Monroe and have to March 11th to reach an agreement with their left tackle. Eugene Monroe is highly coveted and if he reaches the open market the Ravens may have to pay a steep price to keep him.
The Ravens right tackle, Michael Oher is also a free agent. While it is speculated the Ravens are more than willing to part ways with Oher do not make any assumptions. If the Ravens are not able to retain the talents of Monroe they may have no choice but to resign Oher.
The X-factor may be the health of the Ravens third year guard Kelechi Osemele. If Osemele has fully recovered from his injuries that sidelined him in 2013, the Ravens may intend to play him at right tackle. When healthy Osemele has proven to be a capable tackle; however he is a dominant guard. If this is the Ravens intent they only have one offensive tackle to get on the roster.
The Ravens also need to upgrade at center. Gino Gradkowski failed miserably this past season. The problem is that he is a teddy bear in a grizzly bear’s world. A.Q. Shipley failed both at center and guard. The Ravens cannot go into the 2014 season without finding a legitimate starter at the center position.
The world of free agent centers is not all that alluring. The Cleveland Browns put a transitional tag on Alex Mack, thats not all that likely of a Ravens signing. The only other center really worth grabbing off the market would be Evan Dietrich-Smith. I think the best case scenario that is realistic is the Ravens drafting a guy like Travis Swanson of Arkansas.
The Ravens have cap room and it is still early in the offseason. It is too early to be filled with panic. That being said there are a lot of ifs and maybes when it comes to the offensive line. The Ravens are usually the guys who wow you with great moves. We’ll see what happens, but the Ravens have to make the offensive line the priority.