With training camp right around the corner, we're breaking down each position's competition. Today is the offensive line.
In the Hunt
- OT Marcus Applelfield, rookie
- C/G Bradley Bozeman, 2nd season
- OT Orlando Brown Jr., 2nd season
- G/T Randin Crecelius, 2nd season
- G/T Jermaine Eluemunor, 3rd season
- G/T James Hurst, 6th season
- G/T Alex Lewis, 4th season
- G Patrick Mekari, rookie
- G Ben Powers, rookie
- G R. J. Prince, 2nd season
- OT Greg Senat, 2nd season
- C Matt Skura, 3rd season
- OT Ronnie Stanley, 4th season
- G Patrick Vahe, rookie
- OT Darrell Williams, 2nd season
- G Marshal Yanda, 13th season
The offensive line wants to build off the excellent run blocking it displayed last year once Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback, and everybody is back with four of five starting spots pretty much locked up.
Yanda remains one of the game's best offensive linemen, and the Ravens were thrilled he agreed to a contract extension. Stanley and Brown give the Ravens one of the best young bookend tackle tandems in the league. Both are solid pass blockers who hold their own against top edge rushers. Skura was durable and consistent during his first year as a starting center and enters training camp with more experience and confidence. Ravens Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman is known to use innovative run blocking schemes, and this unit is talented enough to handle that.
The starting job at left guard is up for grabs, with least four players having a legitimate chance to start – Eluemunor, Hurst, Lewis and Powers. Head Coach John Harbaugh said about two weeks into training camp, the team will probably have a "leader in the clubhouse." If there's any edge as of now, Harbaugh said, it's Hurst.
Hurst ended last season as the starter, but he is also a very valuable sixth man because he can play any offensive line position. Lewis missed both mandatory and voluntary workouts while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. He opened last season as the starter, but he was never 100 percent after a neck injury in Week 6 forced him out of the starting lineup.
The Ravens drafted Powers in the fourth round because they think he can be a future starter. But can he develop quickly enough to be the starter Week 1? Then there's Eluemunor, who was running with the first team during mandatory minicamp, and who plans to work on his conditioning before training camp begins.
With the Ravens expected to be a run-heavy offense, the performance of their offensive line will be critical. Having someone emerge as the clear-cut winner at left guard would be a step in the right direction.
Under the Radar
A sixth-round draft pick out of Wagner, Senat hopes to bounce back after spending his rookie season on injured reserve following foot surgery. A converted basketball player, Senat was drafted as a high-ceiling developmental prospect. Judging by the way he's transformed his body composition, he's on the right path.
The Ravens have done well in the past finding offensive linemen late in the draft, including Rick Wagner (fifth round) and Ryan Jensen (sixth round) who became starters and signed lucrative contracts as free agents. For now, there is a role for Senat as the potential backup left tackle if he's ready.