Ronnie Stanley Is One of the NFL’s Best Kept Secrets
The first five picks of the 2016 NFL Draft were Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, and Jalen Ramsey. Thus, it can be easy to forget about the contributions of an offensive lineman taken sixth overall.
But entering his fourth season in Baltimore, Ronnie Stanley has quietly developed into one of the top left tackles in the NFL.
“To call Stanley’s first three years in the NFL anything but a success would be a lie,” Pro Football Focus’ William Moy wrote. “The big man out of Notre Dame has logged at least 834 snaps in all three seasons as a pro so far, and his lowest overall grade in a season came as a rookie when he earned a mark of 74.8. Stanley has gotten off to one of the best starts to an NFL career that we’ve seen in the PFF era (2006 – present) from a left tackle.”
According to PFF, Stanley posted his best overall grade last season (75.8) in 15 starts. He anchored the left side for Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson, helping transform the Ravens’ offense into a run-first attack.
“Stanley is one of the better left tackles in the NFL and the unquestioned starter on the Ravens’ roster for a reason,” Baltimore Beatdown’s Kyle Barber wrote. “He’s certainly lived up to his sixth-overall selection. The Ravens picked up his fifth-year option for a reason.”
As Moy pointed out, Stanley has excelled in pass protection.
“The former first-round pick was one of just four left tackles last season to log at least 500 pass-blocking snaps while surrendering just two or fewer sacks, and his 20 total pressures surrendered for the season were the second-fewest,” Moy wrote.
Against the run, Stanley’s “8.1% negatively graded block rate ranks third-best” out of 30 left tackles with at least 500 run-blocking snaps.
“Stanley is a quick-twitch tackle with great size and top-tier hand placement,” Barber wrote. “He continues to be a smart technician at left tackle, whose work on the edge revolves around decision-making. Stanley moves with purpose. Each step, each hand placement and pivot is made as a chess-master slides pieces upon a board.”
One of Stanley’s distinct strengths is his durability. While he’s yet to play a full 16-game season, Barber believes he still has a strong track record.
“[Stanley] has missed six games in the past three seasons, with three coming in his rookie season,” Barber wrote. “That’s not a lot, no, but he’s such a critical component that the loss is crippling at times when absent. I think this is way too overblown by fans and critics, seeing as Stanley is playing one of the toughest positions in the NFL, while doing so in the physical AFC North. Injuries are going to happen.”
Barber is right. Not only has Stanley battled through injuries during his career, but he’s also played at a high level while doing so.
“Since 2006, there have been 29 players to log at least 2,000 snaps at left tackle over their first three seasons. Among that group, Stanley ranks ninth with a 78.8 overall grade across that window,” Moy wrote.
Stanley’s stock is trending up in the eyes of pundits, and they’re certainly buying into the hype. So are the Ravens, who picked up Stanley’s fifth-year option this offseason. The five players drafted ahead of Stanley have all gone to a Pro Bowl. So has the one drafted just behind him, 49ers defensive end DeForest Buckner.
“[I]t wouldn’t be surprising if we were referring to him as All-Pro Ronnie Stanley this time next year,” Moy wrote.
Ravens Reportedly Showing Interest in Supplemental Draft Prospect
The annual Supplemental Draft is set for July 10, offering NFL teams a chance to add young talent late in the offseason.
Former West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms is among the top prospects eligible for the draft and he’s received preliminary interest from a host of teams, including the Ravens, who were reportedly in attendance at his pro day Tuesday.
Simms caught 46 passes for 699 yards and two touchdowns for the Mountaineers last season. After weighing his options in the transfer portal, Simms elected to enter the Supplemental Draft.
The Supplemental Draft is unlike the NFL Draft. Teams bid on players by round and give up the corresponding draft pick next year if a selection is made.
The draft order is divided into three categories. Teams with six or fewer wins have priority, then non-playoff teams with more than six wins and then the 12 playoff teams from last season. If multiple bids are placed on the same player in the same round, the team with the higher draft position earns the selection.
The Ravens won’t have priority for any of the top talents, but it makes sense why they would be interested in a young receiver. Even after using first and third-round picks on Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Miles Boykin, the Ravens are in the process of revamping the wide receiver corps.
Simms could be a cheap and intriguing addition.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projected Simms as a fifth-to-seventh round pick.
“Simms has terrific play speed and foot quickness to escape the jam and separate from coverage when he stays composed in/out of his breaks,” Brugler wrote. “However, his lack of route discipline leads to inconsistent pacing and steps, throwing off the timing with his quarterback. Based on ability, Simms is a draftable player worthy of consideration in the mid-round range, but he must convince teams that he is coachable and will attack the NFL with a professional attitude.”
The Ravens have only made one supplemental pick in franchise history. They selected offensive tackle Jared Gaither in 2007, who started 28 games in three seasons for the Ravens.
David Culley Looking to Make Impact in First Season
With Greg Roman taking over the duties as offensive coordinator, the addition of David Culley has flown under the radar this offseason.
Culley, the assistant head coach, wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator, will be tasked with retooling the passing attack. In a short time, he’s already making a strong impression.
“The Ravens want to make use of [Lamar] Jackson’s quickness and run-pass option plays, while keeping defenses guessing,” PennLive’s Aaron Kasinitz wrote. “Culley’s an integral part of fitting the offensive pieces together.
“Roman will call the plays and quarterbacks coach James Urban faces the challenge of developing the 22-year-old Jackson. In some ways, Culley rounds out the braintrust around the Ravens’ franchise QB. He’ll work with Roman and Urban to create route trees intended to stretch defenses and make things easy for Jackson, who topped 200 passing yards in just one of seven starts as a rookie.”
Michael Crabtree and John Brown, the Ravens’ most experienced pass-catchers from last season, are gone, and Culley’s task begins with two young rookie wide receivers. The challenge begins with two young receivers in Brown and Boykin.
“That’s where Culley’s expertise as a wide receivers coach enters the equation,” Kasinitz wrote. “Sure, he’ll draw up gameplans and offer aid to Jackson, but at practices, Culley’s making all that noise in an effort to tutor his wide receivers.”
● Sportsnaut’s Jesse Reed listed the Ravens as one of eight teams set to exceed expectations in 2019. “Greg Roman has previously had success working with Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor. He’s crafting a brand-new offense ‘from the ground up’ in Baltimore that should suit Jackson’s game to a T. The Ravens also have a phenomenal trio of running backs, some incredible speed at the receiver position, and two excellent tight ends.”