The Ravens need to build the trenches in the 2022 NFL Draft

Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

If games are truly won in the trenches, the Baltimore Ravens should focus on their offensive and defensive lines in the 2022 NFL Draft to be a playoff contender next season.

Lamar Jackson played his career-worst season in 2021, but he wasn’t entirely to blame for Baltimore’s offensive struggles.

The offensive line suffered an early blow with Ronnie Stanley’s injury and never quite recovered, and though Stanley should be healthy this time around, the unit still needs quality additions.

Two decisions regarding the Ravens’ offensive line seem imminent: one, Alejandro Villanueva will likely be released to save cap space, and two, Bradley Bozeman seems likely to walk in free agency.

Those assumptions aside, the Ravens may need to pad the offensive tackle position the most. Currently, the Ravens will have Stanley, Ju’Wuan James, Patrick Mekari, and David Sharpe as their main tackles, with Sharpe being the only questionable roster member.

The Ravens have needs at offensive and defensive line this season

In Bozeman’s absence, Mekari could fill in at the center role, but neither Sharpe nor guard Tyre Phillips can be expected to replace Mekari’s position.

Sharpe is more of a depth piece than anything else; Phillips should only play there in an emergency. James is the more obvious plug-in, but there’s no telling how he will play once he’s fully recovered from injury.

The team would be wise to draft a solid offensive tackle to at least have a developmental player to mold in that position.

As for the defensive line, age is the main issue. With talk of Calais Campbell’s potential retirement, the Ravens could start their search for a young and promising defensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Brandon Williams, who is 32-years-old, isn’t getting any younger either and his performances have started to decline. The key here is to phase out the older players while injecting the team with an influx of players with higher upside and who are less likely to get injured.

When Derek Wolfe got injured last season, Justin Madubuike didn’t take the huge step forward that many had hoped, but he remains a reliable starting-caliber replacement.

The Ravens hold nine picks in the first four rounds which could get them quite a few quality offensive and defensive linemen.

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Baltimore has enjoyed fairly good luck in drafting players in the past, so we would expect Eric DeCosta and the organization to make well-thought-out decisions this April.