Ravens: Kevin Zeitler primed for a bounce-back season

Kevin Zeitler, Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Kevin Zeitler, Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Baltimore Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler had one of his worst seasons in 2020, but he’s set to rebound in a big way year.

ESPN recently teamed up with Pro Football Focus to identify which players in the league will “bounce back” to the high levels of play they’ve previously demonstrated in the NFL.

Some of these candidates struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while others just failed to maintain consistency throughout the season.

For the Ravens, Zeitler was selected given his mediocre performance last year which earned him a career-low PFF grade (65.9), ranking 32nd among all guards.

But Zeitler was also selected for his potential. His peak PFF grade was 89.0 in 2014 and has mostly declined over the years, but in 2019 he earned a 76.4, which proves he’s still capable of being a top guard in the league.

Fellow bounce-back candidates in the AFC North include Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Pittsburgh Steelers guard Trai Turner.

Baltimore Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler will be dominant once again in 2021

Following Orlando Brown’s trade to the Kansas City Chiefs, Zeitler will have a big role to play in the Ravens offensive line.

The nine-year league veteran has spent time on the Bengals, Browns, and Giants, before signing with the Ravens this offseason. It was arguably one of the best moves Baltimore made and a significant upgrade after Marshal Yanda’s retirement left a hole at the right guard spot.

Zeitler pairs with All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley as the team’s most proficient pass protectors, but he’s part of an offensive unit that’s suffered greatly from injuries during training camp.

Currently, Zeitler, Stanley, Bradley Bozeman, and Alejandro Villanueva should get starting spots on the line, leaving only the left guard position open for competition.

Greg Roman would obviously like to solidify the offensive line as soon as possible since the season is only a stone’s throw away. In the meantime, Baltimore can work on improving chemistry among the projected starting five and ensure their linemen will be healthy come Week 1.

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Zeitler brings much-needed experience to a somewhat uncertain Ravens offensive line heading into 2021. NFL analysts are banking on the fact that he’ll improve from last year, and we hope so too.