Don't Rule Out Offensive Line In Ravens Draft Plans


Just because the Ravens' starting offensive line is set for 2015 doesn't mean Baltimore will ignore the position in this year's draft.

Baltimore knows it could have a need down the road, and the Ravens have selected at least one offensive lineman every draft for the past 12 years. The last time they didn't was in 2002, when safety Ed Reed was their first-round pick.

"If some very good offensive linemen are there for us to draft, then we will take them," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "And because we've got some guys who are going into the last year of their deal, we realize that."

Newsome is referring to guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele. Both are set to become free agents in 2016. While Owner Steve Bisciotti said the Ravens are in talks with Yanda about a contract extension, it may be difficult, financially, to keep both beyond this season.

The Ravens' top current interior backup offensive lineman is John Urschel, who started three-regular season games and two in the postseason as a rookie fifth-round pick. Urschel received strong grades from Pro Football Focus (plus-4.4), and was particularly dominant in the divisional playoffs when blocking Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.

Still, the Ravens may feel like they need more reinforcements, especially after trading center Gino Gradkowski to the Denver Broncos last week.

Baltimore has some depth at offensive tackle behind starters Eugene Monroe and Rick Wagner with rising sophomore James Hurst, who started five games last year, recently re-signed Jah Reid and Marcel Jones.

Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta gave his take on three first-round tackles, saying Iowa's Brandon Scherff has a "nasty demeanor," Florida's D.J. Humphries is "extremely gifted" and Stanford's Andrus Peat has a "football pedigree."

While it would be surprising to see the Ravens draft an offensive lineman in the first round, Baltimore could pounce further down the draft. After all, not many people expected a defensive tackle (Timmy Jernigan) in the second round last season, and now he'll be a key piece of the 2015 defense.

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