50 Words or Less: Rooting for an Offensive Lineman in Draft


Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

I keep reading that fans yawn about a lack of sizzle when their team drafts an offensive lineman in the first round, but I'm pretty sure Baltimore fans would stand and shout their approval if the Ravens land center Tyler Linderbaum, tackle Charles Cross or tackle Trevor Penning this year.

The Ravens' selection at No. 14 could depend on several variables not yet determined, such as what they do in free agency and what the teams drafting ahead of them do. I'd be fine if they end up with a defensive lineman or cornerback. But I'm rooting for OL.

The second marriage of the Ravens and safety Tony Jefferson is a win-win. Jefferson just wants a team to believe in him again after a major injury. The Ravens need viable contributors in the secondary after a rough go in 2021 and Jefferson quickly proved he can still play.

The comings and goings of assistant coaches seldom produce drama, but the Ravens' hiring of Zach Orr to coach their inside linebackers is quite a tale. After the bitter disappointment of being forced to retire due to a congenital spine/neck condition, Orr is on the rise as a coach. Impressive.

It's interesting to see the Ravens linked to expensive acquisitions such as Tyrann Mathieu, Za'Darius Smith and Saquon Barkley, but such speculation doesn't take the team's limited salary cap flexibility into account. Bolstering the offensive line and retaining current players are likelier uses of whatever room is carved out.

Feels strange not to have any franchise-tag drama, but any chance of the Ravens using it this year evaporated when they signed tight end Mark Andrews to a new contract. As much as they want to retain several of their pending free agents, they aren't going to pay top dollar.

The Steelers' hiring of Brian Flores is an important development on many fronts, but strictly from a football perspective, it presents a new issue for the Ravens to deal with. Flores' Miami defense originated the mega-pressure blueprint that gave the Ravens' offense trouble in 2021. Expect to see it again.

Another sign of too many injuries? Among non-specialists (i.e., not Justin Tucker or Sam Koch), Tyus Bowser has the Ravens' longest active consecutive-game streak (59 straight). If he doesn't start the 2022 season due to his Achilles injury, Patrick Queen, 22, would have the longest active streak (currently 33 games).

Anthony Weaver, just promoted to assistant head coach by the Ravens, surely doesn't mind that the last guy to hold the title, David Culley, only left because he became a head coach in Houston. Weaver is much younger (41) but viewed as having the right stuff to be a HC.

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