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The Curious Case of the Ravens O-Line

Joe Flacco signals to his OL as they line up against Washington.
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Having wrapped up the 2017 draft, the Ravens are ready to move onto rookie mini camp.

No longer will Ozzie Newsome or John Harbaugh be fielding questions about why the team didn’t address the need for playmakers on offense. It’s time to move on for both the team and the fans.

Sure there are many questions, and the lack of answers is frustrating, but these things have a way of sorting themselves out in due time. At least, that’s what we fans will be telling ourselves.

Now that the roster is that much closer to being set, one of the first items of business has to be the curious case of the offensive line. Replacing right tackle Rick Wagner, who departed in free agency, is easier said than done. Not quite as daunting, but still a concern, is replacing Jeremy Zuttah, who provided a veteran presence along the offensive front.

While many fans were quite disappointed with the draft, others are putting their trust in the front office and can see the logic in the picks. Count me as one of the latter group. The organization is preparing itself for the future and needs an influx of young talent. After all, Marshal Yanda isn’t going to play forever.

Guard Nico Siragusa and G/T Jermaine Eluemunor are a duo the Ravens expect big things from. Not just in 2017, but for the future.

“He is,” answered Harbaugh when asked whether Siragusa could compete for the starting center vacancy this season. “He is a guard/center, and Joe [Hortiz] can probably talk about him specifically more than anybody. But the thing that I saw – and I think all of our coaches saw – was a big, powerful guy.

“He is 320 pounds; he can bend and move his feet and come off the ball. He fits what we are looking for. He has played some center for them. He was a backup center for them and a starting guard. We are going to put him in there at left guard and have him work at center. [We will] put that line out there and kind of see how this shakes out.

Alex Lewis has some position flexibility as well, and we are going to have some guys competing in there for different spots. But, we have to find our best five players.”

The likely scenario is that, because of Lewis’ flexibility, he will man the right tackle assignment come Week 1 of the regular season.

For Eluemunor, it’s likely a back up spot given his lack of experience coupled with his tremendous upside and the tools to get better.

“He came over here [to America] to play football,” Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz explained about the fifth-rounder. “He was playing rugby in England. He had passion for the game, and he had to go to a J.C. [junior college] and spent one year as a starter there at [Texas] A&M.

“There is still a lot of upside with him, You look at him play, and you see the talent in his body when he is there and is moving guys off the line of scrimmage – physical guy.

“There is definitely a lot of upside, and he showed position flexibility this year playing tackle and guard. [There is] a lot to be excited about with him.”

The Ravens always have a play. While some fans will say it’s not the right play, they always seem to have one. The likelihood of adding a free agent right tackle or even center is decent. Once the brass gets a better look at their offensive linemen on the football field it will tell them if they still need to make OL a priority before camp starts.

Their first real look will come this weekend. While it’s difficult to tell in shorts and pads, the answers to the many questions the Ravens have should slowly start to unfold.

 

Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR

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