Winning in the NFL starts up front and the Baltimore Ravens know it. If the Ravens re-sign Rick Wagner, they have almost everything figured out.
If the Baltimore Ravens can retain the services of Rick Wagner, the offensive line has only one question mark remaining. Ronnie Stanley solidified his role as the Ravens left tackle of the future. Alex Lewis is a great answer at left guard who can also play competently at tackle. Marshall Yanda is the best guard in the entire league. Rick Wagner is a strong right tackle. The center position is the Ravens last remaining concern up front.
Jeremy Zuttah had no business playing in the Pro Bowl, because everyone knows he is the weakest link on the Ravens offensive line. Zuttah sometimes gets over powered, especially against 3-4 teams with a dominant nose guard. Zuttah is a quick footed center, who can really be an asset in the zone running scheme. The problem is that Zuttah is undersized for the position.
The Ravens brought in Greg Roman to help with the running game. This means that they are probably going to use less of a zone blocking scheme and more big on big blocking. The Ravens need a bruiser at the center position. Zuttah isn’t the human snow plow that he needs to be.
The good news is that the Ravens are good at finding their answers on the offensive line in the NFL Draft. Alex Lewis was a fourth round pick. The Ravens have a history of finding diamonds in the rough on the offensive line. Wagner is going to get a large contract this offseason and he was a fifth round pick. One of my favorite players of all-time was Mike Flynn, and he was an undrafted free agent.
Lewis And Stanley Could Be A Great Combination:
When Lewis went down it was a real problem for the Ravens. He had become their most consistent offensive lineman not named Yanda. When he filled in for Ronnie Stanley at left tackle, he showed how versatile and valuable he is. Imagine what the Ravens can do on the offensive line if Lewis and Stanley can both be healthy for a full season.
Having two studs on the left side of the offensive line is good for business. With this awesome pairing, Flacco’s blindside will be secured better than it ever has been. Stanley and Lewis are both going into their second year. They showed the Ravens what they were capable of, and they will grow together. Keeping Lewis at left guard could end up being a great decision.
At some point Yanda needs to be replaced, but that time isn’t now. Yanda is coming back and there is no reason to expect anything but greatness from him. I think the Ravens will keep Wagner. At right tackle they don’t need a super star. There are better right tackles than Wagner, but there are also much worse tackles in the NFL. Obviously this conversation changes if the Ravens lose Wagner, but I don’t think that will happen.
The Bottom Line:
When the Ravens go into the middle rounds of the draft, expect them to take a look at the center position. Zuttah isn’t a bad center. In the worst case scenario, Zuttah is back as the Ravens center. In the best case scenario, the Ravens find a free agent or a rookie who can be an upgrade at the position and Zuttah can be a quality back up.
The Ravens offensive line has more solutions than problems. They should try to improve at the center position and they could use some good depth. If they retain Wagner, they have their two tackles. If Alex Lewis and Marshall Yanda stay healthy, the sky is the limit at the guard position. The Ravens offensive line is in good shape, and it could easily become great shape.