What the Baltimore Ravens offensive linemen have in common
The Baltimore Ravens have an offensive line for the modern game but it’s still a smash mouth football unit:
The Baltimore Ravens place more importance on the offensive line than any team in the league. That’s saying something considering how much left tackles are paid across the 32 NFL teams. The Ravens have managed to do something incredible with their personnel on the offensive line. Let me explain.
As players have gotten bigger, faster and stronger the game has changed. Speed rules the NFL now, much more than it ever has. The Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs alone can prove this. Quick feet and smooth athleticism have never been more important on the offensive line. Clunky moving athletes who just have a surplus in power aren’t the answer up front.
Several teams especially those who use mostly zone blocking concepts have sacrificed a little of the brawn and size for faster moving offensive linemen. The Ravens ask their offensive linemen to do a bit of everything. Greg Roman schemes pulling tackles, pulling guards and even pulling centers. Roman schemes up every kind of running scheme he can dream up so he needs versatile linemen.
If you look at the offensive linemen of the Ravens they all have one thing in common. They are a perfect blend of power and athleticism. It starts with Ronnie Stanley who is a 6’5″ 315 pound left tackle. Stanley has power, in fact he bulked up from his time at Notre Dame. He also has quick and graceful feet. Stanley almost has tight end level athleticism.
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If you look at the height and weight of the rest of the offensive linemen, you’ll see a very similar story. Bradley Bozeman and Matt Skura are the only notable linemen that are 6’3″. The rest are 6’4″ or above with most of them lining up at 6’5″. Patrick Mekari is the only offensive lineman on the roster with a listed weight of under 310 pounds. While Orlando Brown Jr. flunked at the NFL Combine drills, he’s obviously quite gifted and that shows up on the field.
Most of the Ravens linemen have been drafted by the organization. In fact, D.J. Fluker and a few undrafted free agents are the only players for the offensive line not drafted by either Ozzie Newsome or Eric DeCosta. Baltimore clearly has physical requirements for their offensive linemen, with height and length being essential factors. That’s probably why they signed Sean Pollard as an undrafted free agent. It’s not all the time you see a center built like an offensive tackle.
The Ravens haven’t invested much of their early draft capital on linemen though, which points to their ability to find what they like later on. Stanley was the only first round pick in this group of players. The Ravens are good at finding linemen who can move and have soft never ceasing feet while not sacrificing size. I haven’t looked at the measurables for every offensive line in the league, but I am willing to bet the Ravens have one of the biggest units around.
This speaks to what the Ravens are all about on offense. In a way they are just a smash mouth football team who uses a power run game to grind their way to wins. In another way they are a very modern and forward thinking team on offense; a team that has more speed than the rest of the league. The story of the offensive line sums things up perfectly for the whole team. The Ravens are using the new class of the biggest, fastest and strongest athletes the NFL has ever seen to their advantage. It means they can focus on athleticism and power at the same time.