Jun 19, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Rick Wagner (71) blocks offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten (61) during minicamp at the Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
When the Ravens stood staunchly behind right tackle Rick Wagner as “their guy” this preseason, pretty much everyone was a bit skeptical. After all, he came into the offseason as a second year player who played a decent bit in his rookie year but didn’t really stand out as a guy who might be a future star.
It’s fair to say that not only has Rick Wagner lived up to the preseason hype, but he might just be exceeding it at this point. Wagner is not only one of the best right tackles in football after seven weeks of the 2014 season, he is the highest rated right tackle in the entire NFL by Pro Football Focus.
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It’s quite a leap for a guy who lasted until the fifth round of the 2013 draft after starting 37 games at Wisconsin in his college career. Wagner made most of those starts at left tackle (27 of them), but did record his other ten at right tackle. He had a pretty solid college career but has always been a bit under the radar.
And Rick Wagner is still flying under the radar, but his star is growing brighter by the week. He has only given up one sack this season, and that came in week one against the Bengals. It’s part of why Wagner is currently ranked sixth among all offensive tackles, and first among all right tackles, in pass blocking efficiency.
So perhaps we were crazy to question the unwavering support that the Raven’s organization threw behind Rick Wagner from the start of offseason activities. But even the Ravens couldn’t have expected to see him reach this kind of pinnacle. For a hard working, blue collar guy from Wisconsin, it’s been quite an improbable (and fast) ride to the top.