To many, the cohesiveness of last season’s offensive line was a surprise. The Ravens lost RT Rick Wagner to the Lions in free agency, G/C John Urschel to educating young minds at MIT, G/T Alex Lewis to shoulder surgery and Marshal Yanda to a season ending ankle fracture.
Despite the injuries, though, the Ravens allowed only 27 sacks, 16 of which were attributed to the patchwork unit. Now with Ryan Jensen becoming the highest paid center in the league and Baltimore not picking up the option on RT Austin Howard‘s contract, the Ravens could certainly use some help up front.
With Free Agency at its peak, here are my top linemen who could improve the offense for the Ravens. They are the best remaining at their positions:
1. Luke Joeckel, Guard, 26 years old: Although drafted as an offensive tackle by the Jaguars in 2013, Joeckel has maintained longevity by switching positions. Versatility is something the Ravens look for in their offensive linemen, and Joeckel’s athleticism emphasizes that part of his game. He still needs a lot of work and has allowed 21.5 sacks in years where he’s started at least 10 games, but he’s the best available OL according to Spotrac.com.
2. Greg Robinson, Tackle, 25 years old: Another lineman who flamed out after being considered a home run, Robinson only lasted 3 years with the Rams before spending 2017 with the Lions. There have been no questions about durability with Robinson, as he played 46 games in his first 3 seasons. Pass protection wasn’t his strong suit, allowing 17.5 sacks in those same 3 seasons. With Joe Flacco‘s durability declining, Robinson, if signed by Baltimore MUST clean up his pass protection techniques.
3. Wesley Johnson, Center, 27 years old: The Ravens have an obvious need for a center which they could address in the draft, but Johnson has compiled quite an impressive resume since being drafted by the Steelers in the 5th round of the 2014 draft. The Jets acquired him and he played 41 games, stepping in nicely for the retired Nick Mangold. He has only allowed 4 sacks in his career, proving that he can hold his own in pass protection.
4. Cameron Fleming, Tackle, 25 years old: Being part of the Patriots culture since 2014 and learning from OL guru Dante Scarnecchia, has coaxed the best out of the former 4th rounder out of Stanford. Maybe a little less athletic than the other linemen on this list, but he has helped keep the pocket clean and Tom Brady upright for 4 seasons, allowing only 7.5 sacks and none in 9 postseason games. Having that experience, he could easily come in and become the bookend opposite Ronnie Stanley.
5. Travis Swanson, Center, 27 years old: With 53 regular season games under his belt and only 5.5 sacks allowed, Swanson was a stalwart on a line that protected Matthew Stafford relatively well. The running game in Detroit has been ghastly since the far too early retirement of Barry Sanders, but it isn’t clear how much of that can be attributed to Swanson himself.