The Baltimore Ravens have a hole to fill after losing center Ryan Jensen in free agency. Here are three ways they can replace him this season.
For the third year in a row, the Baltimore Ravens have watched a top offensive lineman depart through free agency. From Kelechi Osemele to Rick Wagner, center Ryan Jensen is the latest to embark on a new journey. Jensen inked a massive four-year, $42M deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, making him the highest paid center in the league.
That’s a hefty price to pay for a one-year starter but it’s much deserved for Jensen nonetheless. His absence leaves a gaping hole at center as the Ravens now have two major positions on the offensive line to fill.
So, how exactly will Ozzie Newsome and the front office work things out? There are three real possibilities in play and I ranked them based on the team’s situation.
3. Draft a replacement
The NFL draft is just over one month away and drafting a rookie center is a logical approach. With that being said, it doesn’t always yield immediate results. The Ravens likely won’t be targeting a center in the first round and given the positional value, there aren’t any prospects that provide the best value at No. 16. Ohio State’s Billy Price came into the combine earlier this month as a first-round lock but suffered an incomplete pectoral tear during the bench press test. He’ll undergo extensive rehab and there’s no guarantee that first-round grade sticks.
Newsomes’ bread and butter come in selecting mid-late round offensive line prospects. That’s where the Ravens have found key starters like Jensen, Wagner, Marshal Yanda, among others. The team has never drafted a center before the third round and it’s hard to see that changing this year. Waiting until Day 2 or Day 3 will give the Ravens the opportunity to find the best value. Names such as Frank Ragnow, Austin Corbett, James Daniels, Tony Adams will be available.
I have this ranked as the third and worst option of the three for a reason. It’s not often you’ll see offensive lineman past the first-round get significant starting time as rookies. Given the difficulty of the position, the Ravens are better off drafting a rookie to sit and develop as a future starter rather than throwing him into the fire.