Ravens still have reason to address OT early in the 2022 NFL Draft

Ronnie Stanley #79 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Ronnie Stanley #79 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens’ top three position needs in the 2022 NFL Draft include offensive line, defensive line, and cornerback, in no particular order. Ronnie Stanley’s update doesn’t necessarily rule out the team taking an O-lineman early, as the team still needs extra depth in that department.

Will it be with the No. 14 pick? Probably not. But make no mistake, Baltimore have every reason to shore up their offensive line within the first three rounds, at the very least.

The timing of Stanley’s recovery announcement is a bit…suspect. The fact that Stanley seems on track and “good to go” for the 2022 season obviously bodes well for Baltimore, and everyone in Ravens camp is crossing their fingers hoping Stanley recovers to full health.

But releasing that information right before the draft could suggest Baltimore is giving the impression they don’t need to pull the trigger early for offensive line reinforcements.

The Ravens must keep offensive tackle at the top of their priorities in the 2022 draft

That’s not to say Stanley’s update doesn’t give Baltimore more flexibility. Had his road to recovery been slightly more bumpy, say, many would clamor for the team to pick an offensive lineman, perhaps Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, with the first pick.

Instead, the Ravens are primed to take the best player available at No. 14, and their ultimate decision will come down to how the draft plays out this week.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Ravens’ offensive line as 21st in the league in 2021 with just Bradley Bozeman and Kevin Zeitler receiving 70-plus overall grades. This season, Baltimore looks to reduce instability along the line so that even if Stanley misses time again, the team has the depth and talent to compete at a high level.

Taking an offensive tackle prospect in the second or third round (No. 45, No. 76, No. 100) appears to be the team’s best course of action, though Baltimore will rightly adopt a best-player-available strategy (perhaps nabbing Kyle Hamilton, by some miraculous act of the football gods).

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In 2022, some things are painfully obvious, like “Lamar Jackson has to have a better season this year.”

That starts with elite reinforcements in the trenches, so don’t be surprised if Baltimore runs to the board for an offensive tackle in spite of the good news surrounding Ronnie Stanley.