The Baltimore Ravens have their fair share of options to explore in this year’s 2022 NFL Draft. With 10 total picks including nine in the first four rounds, the Ravens have more draft flexibility than almost any team this offseason.
In fact, those nine picks in the first four rounds are more than any NFL team has had over the last six years. We’re talking historic draft capital right here.
The Ravens have long prided themselves on stockpiling mid-round picks, and with quite a few holes still on the roster, they’re going to need to use every single one of them to address all of their needs.
There is one mistake the Ravens must avoid at all costs, however. This one mistake would set the team up for failure in 2022 and put a damper on the entirety of their draft class.
The Ravens cannot ignore their offensive line. There are obvious holes at plenty of other positions, but upgrading their offensive line must remain the top priority in the draft.
The Ravens can’t afford to ignore their offensive line
General manager Eric DeCosta has been preaching significant offensive line upgrades over the last two offseasons now, yet, looking at the unit right now, it’s hard to feel too comfortable about how they might perform in 2022.
The Ravens lost Bradley Bozeman for next to nothing in free agency and will be paying more money to Patrick Mekari to replace him. Left guard is still a major uncertainty while the team’s tackle depth, especially behind Ronnie Stanley at left tackle, is a serious concern.
On paper, the Ravens have either downgraded or, at best, stayed at the same level as it pertains to their offensive line this offseason, depending on how you rate Morgan Moses and Bozeman. That simply cannot be the case.
This isn’t to say that the Ravens have to address their offensive line in the first or even the second round. It wouldn’t be a disaster if the team didn’t come away with someone like Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum or Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning.
You could argue adding an edge rusher or cornerback might be just as, if not more, valuable early in the draft. But what is clear is that the Ravens must add at least 1-2 high-quality depth pieces to their offensive line. That’s at a bare minimum.
They must address their left tackle depth. Right now, if Stanley were to miss time with an injury, who would step in and play left tackle? Mekari is the starting center. Moses and Ja’Wuan James have exclusively played right tackles in the NFL.
There is no viable replacement. Yes, the Ravens have insisted that they still have a few free-agent moves left in them, but building depth through the draft is critical to success in this league.
Addressing the interior of their offensive line should also be a priority. Left guard is expected to be a three-way competition between Ben Cleveland, Tyre Phillips, and Ben Powers, although neither has proven to be a legitimate starting-caliber player to this point. Perhaps Cleveland will in his second NFL season.
Meanwhile, Mekari is a step down from Bozeman as a starter. While Mekari undoubtedly proved his worth last season, his best role is as a super-versatile sixth offensive lineman. He’s not nearly as valuable as an every-down starting center.
The Ravens must address their offensive line in the 2022 NFL Draft. Failure to do so would result in a disastrous outcome for Baltimore and could put their season in jeopardy.