3 stats Baltimore Ravens fans must know about Sala Aumavae-Laulu

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The Baltimore Ravens added a sixth round pick in Oregon tackle Malaesala "Sala" Aumavae-Laulu in the 2023 NFL draft. The Ravens are known for finding someday three gems in the trenches, and now the question is whether Sala Aumavae-Laulu can be the next in that line.

What should Ravens know about this prospect?

3. Sala Aumavae-Laulu started three years at Oregon

Sala Aumavae-Laulu took a longer path to the NFL, mainly because he was not recruited highly out of Hawaii. He spent two years at Navarro College in Texas before getting recognized by Oregon. He redshirted in 2019 and then dealt with a shortened season in 2020 due to the pandemic.

However, he started fully the next two seasons, and closed out his career with 29 starts, all of them coming at right tackle.

Sala Aumavae-Laulu, Baltimore Ravens
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2. Sala Aumavae-Laulu is a tackle, but do the Baltimore Ravens view him as a guard?

Over his career, Sala Aumavae-Laulu played 2,007 snaps, and 1,031 were as a pass protector. While he started every game at right tackle, he did slide into guard at times. He finished with 1,823 snaps at right tackle and 184 at right guard. Most of those snaps were earlier in his career, but he did get 24 snaps at right guard last season when he was asked to.

Sala Aumavae-Laulu checks all of the measurable traits for a tackle, but some wonder if he would be best at guard in the NFL. He is a lumbering player, but at times that can lead to him bending too much and losing balance. He also has a slow recovery, and speed rushers could be painful to him on stunts.

As an interior lineman, he has two players on the side of him, and it is harder to get around him with redirection and speed. As a power blocker, he has heavy hands, and his best traits come when he can fire off the ball in the run game. He could be a run-blocking tackle who struggles in pass protection, but he may be better in both areas as a guard. In round six, that flexibility is pretty valuable.

1. Sala Aumavae-Laulu improved each year at Oregon

It makes sense that Sala Aumavae-Laulu wouldl improve every year when you realize his story. He redshirted in 2019, and 2020 was a weird year due to COVID. So, 2021 he was able to get into the lineup at Oregon for a full season for the first time.

He took his lumps and got better the next season. According to PFF his grade on true pass blocking sets went from 54.8 to 71.3. His run block grade went from 64.2 to 76. Sala Aumavae-Laulu also went from a zone-heavy scheme early in his career to a gap-heavy scheme last year. Overall, he has 42.5% of his snaps coming in zone, and 52% in gap.

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The growth and experience show that he could be better in the NFL. However, with four years at Oregon, and a few years at a small school, he is going to be 24 years old as a rookie. There is not much time to develop, and you could argue his play was improving because his competition remained 19 and 20 years old, but he was getting older.