Tyler Linderbaum perceived as a bad fit in Ravens’ scheme
Who can replace former Baltimore Ravens center Bradley Bozeman in the offensive line this season? Not Tyler Linderbaum, according to one NFL pundit.
The Iowa interior offensive lineman has been plenty mocked to the Ravens given their needs in the trenches, but his potential fit in the team may not be as simple as a plug-and-play starter.
Depending on how the draft plays out, Linderbaum could be available at pick No. 14 and poses as one of the best O-line prospects in this year’s class. That being said, just because he’s an elite center doesn’t mean he’s the right center for the Ravens.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine recently listed the worst potential landing spots for top draft prospects in 2022 and pegged the Iowan center as a poor fit for Baltimore.
"“The Baltimore Ravens could (correctly) feel like Linderbaum would immediately fill the hole left by Bradley Bozeman’s free-agent departure. However, his game is a round peg in the square hole of the Ravens’ scheme.The Ravens would be better off targeting another position in the first round, and Linderbaum can go to a more zone-centric system that will allow him to dominate.”"
Ballentine notes that last season, the Ravens’ run game had the second-highest percentage of “gap concepts” in the league at 51 percent, which isn’t something Linderbaum is known for executing well.
Baltimore Ravens should think twice about drafting Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum
Letting Bradley Bozeman walk will likely bite the team in the rear this year as the Ravens have enough offensive line issues to deal with.
Despite Ronnie Stanley’s positive recovery update, Baltimore should look to draft an offensive lineman early, perhaps targeting Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning or Mississippi State’s Charles Cross.
Those two won’t fill the gap Bozeman left behind, but the team can move the ever-versatile Patrick Mekari to center and start a rookie elsewhere on the line.
While it’s tough to predict how any rookie will perform in any given offensive scheme, other evidence suggests Linderbaum and the Ravens may not be a match made in heaven.
Eric DeCosta told reporters at the pre-draft press conference that the Ravens prefer “big guys” at center, and Linderbaum ranks as one of the smallest linemen in his class at 6-foot-2 and 296 pounds.
A talented center prospect like Linderbaum does ooze All-Pro potential, but only if he’s used in the right scheme.
If the first-round draft choice came down between Linderbaum and Penning, our money’s on Penning.