The 2020 NFL Draft is only just over a week away now, with even more media attention this year due to COVID-19. Baltimore doesn’t have many positional needs after a 14-2 season, but the offensive line is a sneaky need.
The Ravens lost future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Marshal Yanda to retirement, and have lost a lot of depth on their line. Their line is spearheaded by two very good young tackles in Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. It’s the interior offensive line that they need added depth and should be a position they target early. Here are some options they could consider.
Round One Offensive Line Target: Cesar Ruiz – Michigan
Ruiz is regarded as the top interior offensive line prospect in this draft, with great positional versatility that could really help the Ravens.
He can excel at both center and guard, and would immediately help fill the giant hole Yanda has left. The Ravens have good positional depth, but Ruiz would make an immediate improvement. A lot of the Ravens’ offensive success last season was because of their line, and Yanda will need to be adequately replaced for this to continue.
Round Two Offensive Line Target: John Simpson – Clemson
The Ravens could find great value late in the second round by selecting John Simpson from Clemson. Simpson was ever-present for Clemson for the past two years as a starter. He is one of the top run-blocking guards in this draft, and at 6’4″ and 321 pounds, he has the size, the Ravens covet.
He’s less skilled in pass pro, something he will need to improve upon to be a consistent every-down lineman. Baltimore loves to run the ball, so he should see the field a lot early on. Interior offensive line selections are not sexy in the draft but can be the foundation pieces for teams.
Round Three Target: Damien Lewis – LSU
Damien Lewis is another player well suited to the Baltimore Ravens. The LSU guard has ideal weight at 327 pounds, if not perfect height at 6’2″, and excels in run blocking. He anchored an LSU line which not only won a national championship but was also voted the top line in college.
Lewis projects as a solid guard at the NFL level, one who can excel in run blocking but who struggles in passing downs. He would be a very good rotational piece for the Ravens. To find a player that perfectly fits their run scheme in the middle rounds will be a steal.
Round Three Target: Tyre Phillips – Miss State
Another interior prospect the Ravens might consider late in the third round is Mississippi State guard Tyre Phillips. He only started for one season in college, so he is a raw prospect who will need refinement. He has ideal size for the Ravens, at 6’5″ and 331 pounds.
Phillips has all the tools to perfectly suit the Ravens power run scheme. He could be an early starter for the Ravens, which for a late third-round pick, shows great value.
Round Four Target: Ben Bredeson – Michigan
In the middle rounds, teams will select players based on traits, knowing they will need some refinement to become NFL starters. Baltimore is regarded as one of the best drafting teams in the NFL and has often found success in the late rounds. Starting left guard Bradley Bozeman, a sixth-round pick in 2018, reflects this.
Ben Bredeson was a four-year starter for Michigan, and projects as a guard in the NFL. He had the ideal size at 6’5″ and 315 pounds. His best skills are in the power run game, which fits Baltimore perfectly. Pass protection is where Bredeson struggles, but for a late fourth-round pick, he could provide great power-run help for the Ravens.
That wraps up my preview of interior offensive line prospects for the Ravens. The class has some good mid-round depth, something the Ravens could use to help fill the void of Yanda’s retirement. Follow the Overtime Heroics home page here for more sports news content. Be sure to also follow their NFL Draft page here also.
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