It has become a Ravens tradition. Draft an offensive lineman every year.
With the selections of Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and Andrew Vorhees in the sixth and seventh rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Ravens continued to fill the pipeline.
Every year except for one (2002), the Ravens have drafted at least one offensive lineman. That's not coincidence.
"In most cases, we're going to try to draft an offensive lineman every year if we can," General Manager Eric DeCosta said Saturday. "We just think it's good, and you like to have that pipeline of guys every single year, the younger players."
The Ravens have often done it in the third round or beyond. Here's a review of the past decade:
- 2022 – OT Daniel Faalele (4th round)
- 2021 – G Ben Cleveland (3rd round)
- 2020 – OT/G Tyre Phillips (3rd round), G Ben Bredeson (4th round)
- 2019 – G Ben Powers (4th round)
- 2018 – OT Orlando Brown Jr. (3rd round), OT Greg Senat (6th round), C Bradley Bozeman (6th round)
- 2017 – G Nico Siragusa (4th round), G Jermaine Eluemunor (5th round)
- 2016 – T/G Alex Lewis (4th round)
- 2015 – G Robert Myers (5th round)
- 2014 – G/C John Urschel (5th round)
- 2013 – OT Rick Wagner (5th round), G/C Ryan Jensen (6th round)
Part of the Ravens' calculation is also that Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris, who is entering his seventh season with Baltimore, "does an amazing job developing offensive linemen for us," DeCosta said.
Powers is the most recent example of a major hit. He went from a fourth-round pick to one of the best blockers in the league last season before cashing in on a four-year, reported $52 million deal with the Broncos this offseason.
The Ravens are hoping they had similar hits with Aumavae-Laulu and Vorhees this year.
In Aumavae-Laulu, the Ravens got a prospect with elite tools to mold. The first things fan will notice is his size – as he stands in at 6-foot-5, 317 pounds. He has long arms (nearly 83 inches) and big hands (10 ½ inches). What defensive lineman will feel is his power. Aumavae-Laulu's tape shows him forklifting his assignments off the ground, and that's playing in the Pac-12.
He also has good mobility when working as a pull blocker. Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning said, "he can do some things you aren't meant to do at that size."
"The things that stand out with him [are] he's huge, he's got explosive power, knocks guys down on down-blocks," Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz said. "He runs really well for a big man. When you watch him pull or get out on leads on the frontside plays, he can really cover ground. He plays with a great temperament. So, [there's] a lot to like about a big man who plays physical – our brand of football."
"We look at him as a real strong developmental guy," DeCosta added. "[He has] a lot of upside potential. He's young, and he fits us very, very well."
The Ravens traded back into the seventh round to grab Vorhees out of USC. He's doesn't have the same measurables as Aumavae-Laulu, but comes with more polish. Vorhees was a second-team All-American and the winner of the Morris Trophy (top Pac-12 offensive lineman) last season.
Vorhees is another strong blocker with the attributes that portray a potential future starter. Vorhees will have a redshirt rookie season after tearing his ACL during the Combine, but will be able to learn in the classroom this season and join the mix next year.
"We are getting a tough and physical competitor who is polished and experienced," DeCosta said.