Patrick Mekari could be the Ravens right tackle of the future

Ravens, Patrick Mekari (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Ravens, Patrick Mekari (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens could look for offensive line help this offseason. But when it comes to the right tackle position, they may have accidentally stumbled into their long-term starter in Patrick Mekari.

Going into the year, the Ravens expected All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley to return and anchor the blindside while longtime Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva was brought in to man the right side.

Unfortunately, plans changed when Stanley went down in Week 1 forcing Villanueva to switch sides. Without a true swing tackle on the roster, the Ravens turned to the versatile Mekari to take over right tackle duties.

Expectations were low given that Mekari hadn’t played offensive tackle since college. But somewhat miraculously, Mekari has not only held his own in a starting role — he’s thrived.

And in the process, he’s forcing his way into the Ravens’ long-term plans.

Patrick Mekari might be the Ravens’ starting right tackle in 2022

He missed a few games due to an ankle sprain, but in eight starts this season, Mekari has earned a very respectable 69.4 Pro Football Focus grade that ranks 41st among all offensive tackles in football.

What’s even more impressive is his 75.6 PFF pass-block grade that ranks 22nd at his position. It’s not just PFF that likes him either. The following chart shows that ESPN’s win-rate statistic is a big fan of the former Cal standout too.

Mekari ranks third among all right tackles in pass-block win rate and is above-average as a run blocker too. He’s been an above-average starting right tackle in 2021.

And at just 24-years-old, there’s no reason why Mekari can’t be a part of the Ravens’ future plans.

However, he will be a free agent in the offseason which could complicate matters. Mekari is one of a number of key free agents the Ravens might look to re-sign including DeShon Elliott, Bradley Bozeman, Anthony Averett, Patrick Ricard, and others.

But his age, versatility, and high level of play make him an extremely valuable player and someone the Ravens should do everything they can to keep around.

Villanueva is under contract next season, but he can be cut for a savings of roughly $6 million in cap space. The same is true for Ja’Wuan James whose release would include a dead cap penalty of just $250,000.

There’s also the status of Ronnie Stanley to consider. The Ravens have plenty of variables to worry about.

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But it’s getting hard to ignore Patrick Mekari. And by the end of the year, we might be talking about him as the team’s unexpected long-term solution at right tackle.