As a part of our pre-draft coverage here at Russell Street Report, we’ll be featuring the best prospects all across the board in any situation the Ravens might come across. Whether it’s a receiver in the first round, a quarterback in the sixth, or a guard in the third, we’ll cover the Ravens’ best options in any scenario. Barring any trades, the team will pick in the middle of each round—so we’ll see who is available when the Ravens are projected to select their upcoming stars. This will make it easy for you the fan to look at what the Ravens are seeing in future NFL prospects.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at the interior linemen that might be available for Ozzie Newsome in the middle of the second round. With the continued lack of great centers, I don’t think the Ravens will take one in this round. You may see a big run on centers in the 3rd round and beyond, but for now, we’ll highlight hybrid players on the inside of the line. The three players featured below are going to be stars in the league; it’s just a matter of how far they fall in the NFL Draft.
Bryan Stork, Center, Florida State
Stork is coming off of a National Championship that was won at the line of scrimmage. The media highlights players like QB Jameis Winston and WR Kelvin Benjamin, but it was the offensive line, led by Stork, that had just as much to say for the success of the Seminoles.
The intriguing thing about Stork is the way he plays the game with fundamentals and balance. There is not one area in his game that is better than the other—it’s a solid slate from top to bottom. At the line of scrimmage, he’s arguably the best in this class.
Stork must work on shifting when necessary and taking care of defenders in open space. It’s yet to be seen what he can do in the open field and against stunts/blitzes, so he needs to prove that he can be more than just a “point-of-attack blocker.”
Newsome would be smart to take a hard look at Stork. He should fall to the Ravens in the second round, but he’ll probably be grabbed by the time the third comes around. If the team wants a plug-and-play type of center to replace Gino Gradkowski, Stork may be their guy.
Gabe Jackson, Guard, Mississippi State
Here’s a prospect you need to watch. Jackson is a huge lineman that projects to be one of the top guards taken in May.
To say that Jackson is powerful is an understatement. The best way I can describe him is as a “roadblock.” When he faced some of the best defensive linemen in college football (against LSU for instance), he held up very well to prove to scouts and GMs that they must consider drafting him.
Jackson isn’t too mobile, but he gets a great jump off of the ball. He uses his hands well to fight off defenders at the point of attack. He’s going to work well in the running game, something that might be really attractive to the Ravens. No, there isn’t an immediate need at guard with Kelechi Osemele coming back, but with a player that has the skills, power, and size like Jackson, you have to believe the Ravens will give him a good look.
Anthony Steen, Interior Offensive Lineman, Alabama
I couldn’t think of a trickier prospect to highlight. Steen is a great talent that has some experience in a great program over at Alabama.
We all know the Ravens love to look at prospects from the Crimson Tide, so Steen has to be someone to watch. I labeled him as an interior lineman because of something I heard Rob Rang from CBS say. Here’s an excerpt from his breakdown:
WEAKNESSES: Steen is a bit shorter than ideal and may be viewed as a candidate to be moved to center by some scouts.
COMPARES TO: Steen was far and away the least hyped of Alabama’s celebrated offensive line a season ago but his combination of quickness, power and competitiveness will earn him high marks from scouts
I viewed Steen as a good, not great, guard prospect; but the thought of him moving to center is actually very interesting. He is very good one-on-one, but isn’t excellent at any one thing. A move to center would lessen the need to be perfect and would allow him to work at a different position as a possible hybrid player. It would be a bit of a risk on the Ravens’ end, but they could trade back in the second round and see if Steen is available.
There are many offensive line prospects in the later rounds. Stay tuned, they’ll be coming this week.