There are a lot of options for the Ravens to take in this year’s NFL Draft, and a lot of needs the team has. Should the team be looking at an offensive lineman in the first round?
In this year’s NFL Draft, the Ravens have a big decision to make: who to take with the 16th overall pick in the draft.
However, with the loss of Steve Smith Sr. and Kamar Aiken, the team has a hole at wide receiver. They also have needs in the linebacker position with their release of Elvis Dumervil and the surprise retirement of Zach Orr.
But in the latest mock NFL Draft from Mel Kiper Jr. on ESPN, Kiper has the Ravens picking not a receiver, not a linebacker, but an offensive lineman. Specifically Ryan Ramczyk, an offensive tackle out of Wisconsin.
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While I personally believe that the Ravens have a much stronger need at the outer linebacker position, drafting an offensive lineman would be a somewhat logical move for the team.
They’ve lost Rick Wagner to free agency, and the available free agents the team could sign are good, but not exceptionally great tackles. Players like Ryan Clady and King Dunlap are solid, but are both entering their ninth years in the NFL.
Continuing to build an offensive line with another young talent to go along with the Ravens sixth-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Ronnie Stanley and Pro-Bowler Marshal Yanda could help the Ravens establish a solid offensive line for years to come, something that could help a struggling running game and help ease the pressure on Joe Flacco.
If the Ravens are to draft an offensive lineman, Ramczyk would not be a bad choice. He’s considered one of the top three linemen in the draft, along with Alabama’s Cam Robinson and Utah’s Garett Bolles.
Ramczyk had an excellent season in 2016 for Wisconsin, showing that he’s a very strong pass blocker, and good at creating holes for the running game. One of the biggest concerns about him, however, is the fact that he had hip surgery to repair a torn labrum this past offseason.
Ramczyk played left tackle for the Badgers last season, but could conceivably be moved to right tackle if the Ravens deemed it appropriate. The team could also attempt to move Stanley to right tackle and keep Ramczyk at left tackle.
Personally, I think the wise move for the Ravens in this year’s NFL Draft is to pick a good pass rusher in the first round, however there is a good crop of linebackers available in the draft this year, so it’s conceivable they could still get a quality pass rusher in the second round while drafting someone like Ramczyk or Robinson in the first.
Regardless, this year’s NFL Draft will be a very important one for the Ravens, as they need to start directing the team back towards being a playoff team. If they don’t do that, we could all be in for another long season.