The Baltimore Ravens made a big splash last night when they acquired Eugene Monroe from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Monroe is a big, physical left tackle from the University of Virginia. In the 2009 draft Monroe was considered by many to be a top 5 offensive lineman coming out of college. In fact, a lot of people covering the draft had him listed as a top 3 offensive lineman. He was the third lineman taken in the 2009 draft at pick number 8 as the Jacksonville Jaguars attempted to rebuild their offensive line. Monroe came in to Jacksonville expected to compete for the starting left tackle position. He ended up winning that battle and started week one for the Jags against the colts. He has played in 61 games for the Jags since joining their team in 2009 and has started 58 of those 61 games.
This spells bad news for current Ravens blind side tackle Bryant McKinnie. He’s been wildly inconsistent on the field, and is attracting a lot of negative media off the field which is the something the Baltimore Ravens try to do a good job of avoiding. Monroe is one of the best players on the Jaguars team, while that might not be saying too much that this season; Monroe was an upper-tier left tackle for the last two seasons in Jacksonville. The Ravens only gave up two mid-round picks (2014 4th and 5th round picks) for the talents of Monroe which is a more than reasonable price for a player like Monroe. Ravens fans have been looking for an answer for their offensive woes. Most fans have wanted the Ravens to go out and acquire a top-tier receiver; however I think the Ravens have made a better move in dealing for offensive line help. The Ravens run game is ranked 28th in the league. This is something that no one could have expected with the caliber of backs that the Ravens have. Improving the running game will improve the passing game. The Ravens have a lot of young, talented, receivers. A lack of running game is preventing the Ravens from getting to throw to those receivers. They also need to do better job of keeping Joe Flacco upright. He is getting hit more than he is accustomed to, and is rushing a lot of his throws and either under, or over, throwing a lot of his receivers which is leading to turnovers.
I expect a few things to happen because of this trade. The first thing I expect is that Ozzie Newsome will sign Monroe to a long-term deal. Monroe is in the last year of his rookie contract and the Ravens are going to want to lock him up for the future. Second I think that Bryant McKinnie’s time with the Baltimore Ravens is coming to an end and they will either bench him or remove him from the team via trade or simply releasing him. Next I expect the running game to drastically improve. I think the Ravens have a fantastic offensive line that is greatly struggling to get going. Lastly if the running game improves, the passing game improves and the Ravens start winning games. Their defense is stellar so far this season. They’re not giving up many touchdowns even when the offense puts them in a bad corner. An improved offense, mixed with the defense that they have is going to add up to wins for the Ravens.