Ravens NFL Draft tradition: Finding offensive linemen gems
Orlando Brown Jr. (Third round, 2018)
Orlando Brown Jr. had his stock plummet after failing to perform well at the NFL Scouting Combine. The Ravens were lucky to have Brown Jr. fall to the third round. They knew they were getting a player with a lot of potential because he performed so well with the Oklahoma Sooners. This is an example of the Ravens trusting the tape, not he measurables. It paid off.
Brown Jr. played for the AFC in the 2019 Pro Bowl. He’s one of the best right tackles in the league. With Ronnie Stanley on the other side Baltimore has the best situation when it comes to starting offensive tackles. Brown Jr. is a huge man that’s almost impossible to get around. He improved a great deal in his second season.
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James Hurst (Undrafted free agent, 2014)
James Hurst has played both good and bad football for the Ravens. The low moments for Hurst have been low. The playoff game against the Los Angeles Chargers was a great example of how frustrating Hurst’s performance can be. Hurst was a player whose draft stock was sky-high before getting hurt at the end of his collegiate career at North Carolina. He ended up as an undrafted free agent and he has shown great staying power in a league that weeds out players that don’t belong very effectively.
Hurst has started 44 games for the Ravens and he has played at tackle and at guard. Last year he provided value as a player who could back up multiple positions. That’s what he is, a serviceable back up with the potential to get the team through a few games.
Rick Wagner (Fifth round, 2013)
Rick Wagner is now the right tackle for the Detroit Lions. His time with the Ravens got him a great payday for a player who is strictly a right tackle. He’s started 40 games for the Lions and has 87 starts in his NFL career. This is an example of what the Ravens do best. They found a starting caliber player in the fifth round. It’s a very familiar pattern. He doesn’t do much in his first season and then becomes a full-time starter in year two. It’s almost like it’s easy for the Ravens to do this.
Ryan Jensen (Sixth round, 2013)
Remember when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Ryan Jensen the highest paid center in the NFL? That was a huge contract for a center that came out of the sixth round of the draft. Jensen became a 16 game starter in his last year in Baltimore. He hasn’t missed a game in the last three years and is one of the best interior offensive linemen in football. PFF has him graded at 79.3 which is in the above average category.