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.
The sixth and seventh rounds can be NFL gold. We’ve seen countless superstars emerge from the deep draft boards and turn into Pro Bowlers. This year, the crop of prospects is endless. There is going to be borderline day-two talent in these late rounds thanks to the depth of this class. Could the Ravens find their future starting lineman with a sleeper selection? Let’s take a look at a few.
James Stone, Center, Tennessee
Gino Gradkowski was far from perfect in 2013, but the coaching staff could give him another chance to grow in the off-season and prove himself. By this point, if the Ravens haven’t drafted a center, chances are they want to stick with Gradkowski.
Stone is a tough prospect to scout because of the different variables we have to look at in a center. Ideally, you want a guy that can seal off huge nose-guards and anchor with enough strength to over-power players like Star Lotulelei and Domata Peko.
Stone is a big presence that gets in defenders’ way, but he too often becomes content with getting in the defender’s path instead of fighting hard against the bull-rush. He often is over-powered by tackles shooting the gap with speed. Stone has good agility and a good first step, but he won’t have a future in the league if he can’t successfully fight against the league’s best.
Stone has enough upside for the Ravens to use a later pick on him—hopefully a 7th rounder.
Ryan Groy, Guard, Wisconsin
Groy is a huge lineman that has made his living being a roadblock thanks to his 6’5” 325-pound frame.
What I noticed in his game was a problem letting guys get into the backfield on pass protection. He often was pushed back by above-average interior rushers and was unable to stay in place with elite strength. Groy shows a good burst in run blocking and sets up square on defenders.
Here’s what CBS’ Dane Brugler had to say about Groy:
Strengths: Groy’s best quality might be his natural size and girth to occupy space and slow down rushers.
Weaknesses: Limited mobility and flexibility and his stiff hips and rigid body control tend to show up often, especially in space. He struggles to stay balanced through contact and is often falling forward with his eyes staring at the ground, awkwardly trying to stay under control.
Groy will be a late-round selection that the Ravens might want to look at to add some size and depth to the roster.
That concludes our look at potential interior offensive line prospects. As the calendar inches closer toward the draft, we’ll start our analysis back at Round 1 with a whole new position later this week. Stay tuned!