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Ravens Offensive Line Rebuild Is Coming

Offensive line
Offensive line

The Ravens' top offensive priority this offseason is in the trenches.

General Manager Eric DeCosta and Head Coach John Harbaugh made clear that change is coming on their offensive line this offseason.

"The offensive line is where it starts. We talked about that in 2008 and it's been true forever. You win in the trenches first," Harbaugh said from the Combine in Indianapolis.

"We have some question marks on our offensive line. So there's going to be some rebuilding that's going to have to be done in there and we're getting to it already. It's going to be probably the most important thing we do on offense."

The Ravens have pending free agents at both starting guard spots with Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson. They have decisions to make at both tackle spots with Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses getting more expensive and coming off injury-hampered seasons. Center Tyler Linderbaum is coming off a Pro Bowl Year 2 campaign, but who will man each spot to his right and left is unknown.

The Ravens aren't running from that. They're embracing it as an opportunity to get stronger. Last year it was a wide receiver room makeover. This year, it's the offensive line.

"We have to have a big, strong, imposing offensive line. So, we'll continue to build that out," DeCosta said. "Obviously, this year, we're going to have, probably, some change on the offensive line in different ways. It remains to be seen exactly what that looks like, [but] we will have a plan."

The Ravens led the league in rushing again, but Lamar Jackson was under pressure too much and the ground game outside of Jackson's legs wasn't as reliable as Baltimore would like. Jackson's unreal abilities to make plays despite pressure – whether from one leg, ducking defenders, etc. – created some of the offense's biggest plays."

Now imagine what the reigning MVP could do if he wasn't under pressure so often? Jackson's passing went to another level last season, and if the Ravens can create a cleaner pocket for him, Jackson and the offense can take the next step.

Keep an eye on these 2024 prospects at Ravens positions of need.

The question is just how big the offensive line "rebuild" will be.

The Ravens already didn't re-sign Zeitler before taking the salary-cap hit from his void years. Baltimore can save $5.5 million by parting ways with Moses. The Ravens can save $15 million by releasing Stanley, but that savings wouldn't come until after June 1 and it would carry an $11 million hit in dead money on the cap. That doesn't help them fit a potential franchise tag for Justin Madubuike under the cap or pursue outside help in the first few waves of free agency.

Baltimore has some young in-house potential replacements. Daniel Faalele will likely get a shot to start at right tackle, as he already split reps with Moses down the stretch last season. Ben Cleveland, Sala Aumavae-Laulu, and Andrew Vorhees could compete for the starting guard spots.

But if the Ravens do part ways with multiple veterans, they would need to bring in more competition, either via cheaper free agents and/or with draft pick investments. The latter is likely, potentially with the early and multiple selections.

Harbaugh has already started looking at the tape of offensive line prospects after DeCosta told him that the draft will be a fruitful avenue for stockpiling talent this offseason.

"I think there is a lot of depth, specifically at the tackle position and the guard position, so that's exciting," DeCosta said. "It really helps me as we look at what that offensive line is going to look like."

NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he has 10-11 offensive linemen in his top tier, with a bunch of Day 1 starters among a “loaded” group.

The top four offensive tackles will likely be long gone, but with pick No. 30, Baltimore could perhaps land one player from the next tier between Georgia's Amarius Mims, Oklahoma's Tyler Guyton, or Washington's Troy Fautanu. Jeremiah has them ranked at Nos. 17-19 on his top 50 prospects board. Their performance at the Combine will be closely monitored.

"Tyler Guyton and Mims as these two big freaks, like just big physical, athletic kind of rare guys," Jeremiah said. "They're a little bit raw, but there's a huge upside there. If one of those guys were to fall to them, I think that would be a home run pick."

If the Ravens didn't move on from either or both tackles, they could draft a college tackle who could start at guard immediately before taking over at tackle in 2025.

"We're going to always have a plan," DeCosta said. "We're aware of the injuries and the salary cap, and we're aware of the talent that we have and the talent that's available, and we'll build the best offensive line that we can with the best players that we can."

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