As a part of our 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.
As we move forward in scouting the Ravens’ best options for offensive linemen, we get into a crucial stage around Round Four. If Ozzie Newsome and Co. hasn’t taken an interior lineman at this point, chances are the next lineman pick will be a backup player, possibly on the roster bubble. There are a few hot names that might still be available in the middle of the fourth; let’s take a look at who the Ravens might take at this stage of the game.
Brandon Linder, Guard, Miami
The Ravens will be looking for a player that can play all over. Linder has had experience all over and is one of the prime prospects coming out of the ACC.
I like Linder because of his aggressiveness. He doesn’t quit at the first level and showed great potential to use his eyes to find the defender at the second level and engage with them. Linder fights late into the play and doesn’t stop until the whistle blows. He showed his aggressiveness several times in his 2013 game vs. Pittsburgh.
The 6’6” lineman played three games at tackle in the 2013 season—something that might intrigue the Ravens. Jah Reid isn’t the answer to back up anyone in the starting rotation; Linder might be the player that Reid was presumably scouted to be.
The thing I worry about with Linder is his strength side-to-side. He struggled with Aaron Donald (top DT prospect) several times when Donald shot the gaps with good burst. Linder was able to get the job done, but he showed a decline in strength when shifting. We’ll have to watch his athleticism in individual workouts to pinpoint on the little traits, but I like what I’ve seen in his tape.
Russell Bodine, Center, North Carolina
Bodine is a player that ranges all over the board. He has a unique skill-set where he can play either guard or center—something that the Ravens may be looking for. I have seen projections anywhere from the 3rd round to the 6th. I have Bodine as a 4th-5th round grade.
Bodine started the past two seasons for the Tar Heels, earning honorable mention All-ACC accolades in 2013. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound redshirt junior, plays with good initial quickness and power and projects nicely as either a center or guard in the NFL. He is taking advantage of a relatively weak senior center class which features only two centers currently regarded as top 100 prospects in Arkansas’ Travis Swanson and Colorado State’s Weston Richburg.
I am not sold on Bodine as a starter in the league quite yet, but his ability to play multiple positions is interesting.
NOTE: I will be looking to get to Bodine’s Pro-Day at North Carolina. I will bring coverage after the individual workouts if possible.
The Ravens took Gino Gradkowski in the fourth round in 2011. The team took Jason Brown in 2005 and Edwin Mulitalo 2001, both in the fourth. Last season, the Ravens had two fourth round picks—they selected John Simon and Kyle Juszczyk—both were kept on the sidelines the majority of the season.