The Ravens made headlines April 23 when they traded star right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs for an assortment of draft picks. Now, the Ravens will have to upgrade the offensive line in some capacity with the 2021 NFL Draft looming.
There are conflicting opinions of whether the move was positive one for the Ravens. Geoff Schwartz, a former NFL offensive guard and current Fox Sports and SiriusXM analyst, contends this was a wise decision made by Baltimore’s front office.
“I like [the trade] for a couple of reasons,” Schwartz said on Glenn Clark Radio April 27. “If you are not going to pay the guy, you might as well get some value for him right now, and they did. I get that he was a valuable piece of that offensive line, but they weren’t going to pay him and they got assets.”
For Brown, the Ravens acquired a first-rounder (No. 31 overall), third-rounder (No. 94 overall) and fourth-rounder (No. 136 overall) in the 2021 draft — and a fifth-round pick next year — while giving up a 2021 second-rounder and 2022 sixth-rounder. Brown was key part of Baltimore’s scheme, but he was expected to depart via free agency had he played for the Ravens in 2021.
It was going to be difficult to re-sign Brown considering they have to pay quarterback Lamar Jackson soon (the Ravens are planning to pick up Jackson’s fifth-year option for 2022). However, Schwartz opined that perhaps the Ravens didn’t value Brown like the rest of the league did.
“It honestly could be as simple as maybe the Ravens don’t think he’s that good,” Schwartz said. “I think that’s maybe too harsh to say about a player who has played well, but maybe they just don’t feel that he’s as good as people want him to be. … Maybe they’re thinking that he may be sheltered by the offense and [Ronnie] Stanley is better than him.”
What this trade does indicate is that the Ravens do have some work to do in strengthening the trenches. Stanley, who is returning from a season-ending ankle injury, will play left tackle. Bradley Bozeman will stay at left guard or move to center. The team signed Kevin Zeitler to play right guard.
Free agency is one potential avenue in addressing the holes on the offensive line. Alejandro Villanueva, a seven-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler for the Pittsburgh Steelers, recently visited the Ravens, but Schwartz doesn’t believe this would be their main guy at right tackle.
“It does seem unlikely that he would be a starter for them,” Schwartz said. “He would be more of a veteran backup.”
The Ravens could also allocate draft capital to the line. Having the No. 27 and No. 31 overall picks in the draft means they will be well positioned to select an offensive lineman early if they so choose. They also have the ability to move up for a lineman.
Schwartz believes one offensive lineman in particular would fit in the first round for the Ravens.
“Teven Jenkins, the kid from Oklahoma State, feels like the guy they would target in either one of those spots if they go for a tackle,” Schwartz said.
Jenkins, a 6-foot-6, 317-pound tackle, ranks No. 36 on Daniel Jeremiah’s ranking of all prospects. Certain publications have him higher than this, so Jenkins may represent the best marriage of addressing positional need and taking the best player on the board.
The Ravens would still have to sort through the interior line situation even after taking Jenkins. The Ravens could move Bozeman to center to fill the hole they have there, but Schwartz doesn’t believe this is the optimal strategy.
“I would leave someone at the position they are playing well at now, because you can get yourself a center at 31 and have two quality linemen instead of going, ‘Hey let’s move him back to center and then maybe we can get a guard in the draft,'” Schwartz said. “… The thing that people get wrong with the offensive line is they go, ‘Eh, we can get someone later.'”
For more from Schwartz, listen to the full interview here:
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