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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Ravens brass show interest in offensive line at Combine

The Baltimore Ravens will take another shot at addressing the offensive line this season. They signed free agent offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva to a two-year, $14 million deal last year. Unfortunately that hasn’t worked out and Villanueva is unlikely to be back. 

The Ravens are more likely to take another shot at taking care of the offensive line. This time it will likely come by way of the draft. Fortunately for Baltimore, this year is a good time to be in need of offensive line help.

This is an interesting Draft class. Offensive line, I think is very, very strong this year. We’ve had a chance to meet with some guys already. I’m impressed with the players that we’ve met with,” Ravens executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta. “If you look at this draft class, you’re going to have, in my opinion, some really outstanding offensive linemen, for sure.”

The Ravens will have needs at center, right tackle and possibly at guard. They’ve shown interest in centers Tyler Linderbaum from Iowa and Cole Strange from Tennessee Chattanooga. Strange was someone that drew attention from the Ravens at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. 

The interest in offensive linemen continued at the Combine. 

“You’ve got a guy like Evan Neal, who we met with last night,” DeCosta said. “Extremely impressive— what he did at Alabama. [He’s] imposing, physical, strong, [a] run blocker. [He] has a chance to be an outstanding pro. Another guy [is] Charles Cross – offensive tackle. Again, just [an] outstanding athlete. [He] looks like a power forward out there in pass protection. [He’s], again, a guy I think that’s very, very gifted.”

“[Tyler] Linderbaum at Iowa— a center. We’ve had very good luck with Iowa players over the years. Marshal Yanda, to me, [will be] a Hall of Famer someday. When we look at a guy like Tyler Linderbaum, we see a lot of the same qualities: tough, gritty, very, very athletic, very intelligent and smart. [He’s] the type of guy that, can really be the centerpiece of your offensive line. So, teams picking in the Top 15, I think they have a chance to get themselves a really good offensive lineman.”

Baltimore has the 14th overall pick so it’s likely they’ll get to pick from the upper echelon of offensive lineman. As DeCosta said, there’s depth. A player like Strange should be available in the fourth or fifth round. 

With Lamar Jackson set to command a big deal in the near future, it’s critical for the Ravens to protect their investment. One way they can do that is by addressing the offensive line. 

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