Baltimore Ravens should improve offensive line via free agency
The Baltimore Ravens should use free agency to improve their offensive line:
The Baltimore Ravens want to run the football better than anybody in the NFL. They want to protect Lamar Jackson as he becomes more committed to being a pocket passer. The offensive line is the biggest key. Yes, the Ravens need play-makers around Jackson, but the offensive line is the key to everything. Jackson is the best play-maker on the field and he touches the ball every play so anything that protects Jackson is an investment in a play-maker.
The top target for the Ravens should be Denver Broncos center, Matt Paradis. The Ravens may not want to admit that center is a position of need, but it’s kind of obvious. Almost every pundit is calling the offensive line a need yet, Ronnie Stanley, Marshal Yanda and Orlando Brown Jr. are going nowhere.
It doesn’t take a lot of deductive reasoning to assess that the Ravens need an upgrade at center and for that matter left guard. There aren’t a ton of great free agent options at center at Paradis is the best one. Pro Football Focus has given Paradis an above average score, while Matt Skura’s grade is in the average category. Paradis has been with the Broncos since 2014 and he has started 57 games for them.
The Ravens would also be wise to add a guard to the mix. There are a couple of veteran guards the Ravens should look at. Roger Saffold, Ramon Foster and Mike Iupati are potential band-aids for the Ravens offensive line. They are all in their early 30’s and nearing the end of their careers, but they all probably have some good football left in the tank. The Ravens won’t break the bank the way some teams have in recent years on the offensive line. We’re not talking Kelechi Osemele or Ryan Jensen kind of money and we’re looking at a shorter deal.
Guard is a position of need in the NFL Draft, but it wouldn’t hurt to get something that could help right now. Alex Lewis showed promise, but he’s not going to become a Pro Bowl level talent. James Hurst’s contract looks worse than it did when the Ravens signed it (and it was heavily scrutinized at the time). If the Ravens don’t improve their offensive line in free agency, they may be forced to spend a valuable draft pick on the offensive line. Signing a player or two that has already proven themselves in the NFL doesn’t sound like a bad route to go.
A strong offensive line is just a signing or two away from being a reality. This may not make the Ravens Flock overly excited, but signing one or two quality offensive linemen will go a long way to winning the division for a second season in a row. If Jackson and Roman have a dominant offensive line, their 6-1 run to end the 2018 regular season could look like child’s play, this time next year.