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Offensive Tackle Ronnie Stanley Would Be 'Day-One Starter' For Ravens


As Ravens fans dream about what Ozzie Newsome is going to do with the No. 6 overall draft pick, the idea of taking an offensive lineman doesn't exactly generate much buzz – especially if that player is the second offensive lineman to come off the board.

But that's the most common projection for the Ravens in the early round of mock drafts, as several draft experts have the Ravens taking Notre Dame offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley.

That pick may lack pizazz, but count NFL Network's Mike Mayock among those who think Stanley would make an immediate impact for the Ravens.

"I think Ronnie Stanley is a day-one starter and would be a solid option for Baltimore at [pick No.] 6," Mayock said during a national conference call with reporters.

Stanley, 6-foot-5 and 304 pounds, is widely viewed as the second-best tackle in this year's class behind Ole Miss' Laremy Tunsil. Stanley was an All-American last year after starting every game at left tackle, and Mayock stressed that the difference between the top two tackles is marginal.

"I think [Stanley is] closer to Tunsil than a lot of people do," Mayock said.

Stanley told reporters at the combine this week that he views himself at the top tackle in the class.

"I always feel like I'm going to be the best," he said. "That's the mindset I'm going to have."

In his podium session with reporters, Stanley reiterated several times that he's out to show NFL teams he is a hard worker with a passion for the game. There have been some whispers of NFL executives questioning his work ethic, and Stanley wants to put an end to that talk.

"I've just heard many different things that people think I'm just a laid back guy that just relies on his talent, doesn't really love the game like he should," Stanley said. "I'm really trying to show those people what football means to me – not necessarily those people, but the teams."

The soft-spoken Stanley said he plans to address that topic directly with NFL personnel this week at the combine and wants to stress the impact football has made in his life. 

"I think there's a big aura where people think that I'm kind of lackadaisical, I guess. I don't know," he said. "But I'm just really trying to show people how much football means to me, and how much I really do care about it."

On the field, Stanley has the physical ability to develop into a long-term franchise left tackle. He has quick feet and long arms, both key attributes to playing tackle at the NFL level.

"Stanley shows a lot of talent," ESPN's draft expert Mel Kiper said. "Week to week, you see the feet, the exceptional athletic ability that he brings to the position."

Left tackle is not necessarily the most pressing need for the Ravens because Eugene Monroe is entering just the third year of a five-year contract. But injuries have prevented Monroe from solidifying the left side of the line, and he's missed 17 games the last two years.

That instability at left tackle has taken a toll, especially last year when quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a torn ACL when backup James Hurst rolled into his knee after Monroe left that game with an injury.

The Ravens are also trying to keep Kelechi Osemele on the roster as a left tackle, and Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens have made an "aggressive" offer to keep the pending free agent in Baltimore. If Osemele ends up taking a bigger deal elsewhere, then left tackle would become a more pressing need depending on whether the Ravens move on from Monroe.

Stanley expressed interest in protecting Flacco's blindside.

"It's always nice protecting quarterbacks, especially good ones," Stanley said. "Joe Flacco falls into that category."

If the Ravens can add a player to strengthen the offensive line in the near-term, and potentially give them a franchise left tackle long-term, then Stanley has the tools to be that kind of player.

"I can translate what I did in college to the NFL, and also I'm going to improve, I'm going to keep trying to get better," Stanley said. "I never feel I've made it to a certain point that I don't think I can better. That's something I always do is try to improve."

Here are nine college prospects who pundits have projected to the Ravens in mock drafts.

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