One of the most shrewd moves by the Baltimore Ravens during the 2017 NFL Draft was the selection of San Diego State offensive guard Nico Siragusa in the fourth round.
The Ravens make it a priority to build the offensive line through the draft, and adding Siragusa on the third day continued that trend.
Siragusa enters Baltimore as a player with high potential as a power run blocker, and figures to factor into Baltimore’s starting lineup long term. However with some uncertainty at left guard and right tackle – mainly, deciding where Alex Lewis will play this year – Siragusa may be forced into the mix sooner than later. If so, he has more than enough talent to contribute as an early impact player.
A pure guard, Siragusa and his 6’4″, 319-pound frame, will not hit the field in 2017 unless either Lewis is moved to right tackle or an injury occurs. As of now, the Ravens have no viable candidates to start at right tackle outside of Lewis, although in a perfect world, the front office can find a plug-and-play starter at tackle via free agency or trade.
The jury is still out on what Baltimore’s starting offensive line will look like for Week 1, but regardless, Siragusa – a three-year starter in college – has the ability to contribute as a rookie in either starting or backup fashion.
Let’s take a look at the qualities that stand out in Siragusa’s game.
For Siragusa, run blocking comes first. This should not be a surprise, however, as Siragusa helped pave the way for San Diego State running back and all-time NCAA rushing yards leader, Donnel Pumphrey.
With Pumphrey in the offense, naturally Siragusa gravitated more toward run blocking, and that shows in his play. As a player who can be a typical “phone booth” type of mauler at guard, Siragusa also has enough agility to pull.
Baltimore operates with a diverse running-game mix of man and zone blocking, requiring any of the Ravens linemen to be fluid in their roles. Siragusa is versatile enough to do just that, as he offers a blend of power, ample quickness and balance.
Siragusa’s power shows when he can square up on a defender during a run play.
For a Baltimore team that has frustratingly fluctuated its run game efficiency since the 2012 Super Bowl season, adding a classic, physical mauler with movement skills such as Siragusa’s helps to round out the offensive line.
As a pass blocker, Siragusa’s power does not flash as much, as he is more of a back-to-the-basics type of blocker on pass plays.
Siragusa rarely tries to overpower a pass rusher, rather keeping it simple with his hand usage and positioning.
This helps him succeed for the most part, but if he can hone his craft in the passing game by adding more power to his adequate technique, he will become more complete of a player.
The selection of Siragusa is reminiscent of the Ricky Wagner selection in 2013 as a day-three player with starting potential. An ideal path for Siragusa would be one similar to Wagner, i.e., playing situationally as a rookie before taking on a starting role in year two.
If needed, however, Siragusa is a viable candidate to step in at left guard and contribute at some point during his rookie season. The Ravens have hit on a handful of offensive line draft selections (Kelechi Osemele, Wagner, Ronnie Stanley, Alex Lewis) over the last five years.
Siragusa has the potential to be added to that list.