The Baltimore Ravens needed to address the offensive line position after the departure of Orlando Brown Jr. While the Ravens did not take an offensive tackle in the NFL draft last week, the latest change on the offensive line will have quarterback Lamar Jackson some much-needed protection.
On Tuesday, NFL Insider Ian Rapport reported that the Ravens signed former Pittsburgh offensive lineman Alejandro Villaneuva to a two-year, $14 million deal with eight million dollars guaranteed. Baltimore made the signing official just a few hours later.
The addition of Villaneuva is not a surprising one. Villaneuva visited Baltimore in April amid rumors of Brown Jr. requesting a trade. Brown was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs a few days later. The Ravens also lost offensive lineman D.J. Fluker in April.
Baltimore has not been quiet in addressing their offensive line, however, the team signed former New York Giants guard Kevin Zeitler and drafted Georgia guard Ben Cleveland in the third round of the NFL draft.
Villanueva, 32, played six seasons (did not play rookie year) in Pittsburgh as a left tackle. The 6-9, the 320-pound veteran will fit anywhere on the line. The Ravens’current left tackle, Ronnie Stanley suffered a season-ending knee injury last October.
When Stanley went down, Baltimore had a difficult time on the line. Stanley is scheduled to return in 2021. Ultimately, Villaneuva will play the right tackle for the Ravens.
Villanueva started in 90 of the 96 games he played during his time with the Steelers. In 2020, Villanueva ranked 18th in run block win rate according to Pro Football-Reference. The veteran was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2017 and 2018. For a run-heavy offense, Villanueva seemed like a smart signing for the team.
As for competition on the offensive line, the left guard position in the training camp should be an interesting one. Ben Powers, Ben Bredeson, and rookie Ben Cleveland, as it currently stands will be battling for the position. Ultimately, I think Cleveland will win the competition and we will see three new starting lineman on offense for Baltimore in 2021.
While nothing is written in stone, the potential starting offensive line for the Ravens could see Stanley at left tackle, Cleveland plays left guard, Bozeman at the center position, Zeitler plays right guard, and Villanueva at right tackle.
Despite the loss of Brown, I think the offensive line for Baltimore improved drastically from where it was a season ago.