It wasn’t a sexy draft pick, but it helps check a box on a long off-season to-do list for the Baltimore Ravens.
In the sixth overall pick, the Raven selected offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley from Notre Dame.
The Nevada native is 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds. Stanley started 39 straight games for the Irish, playing right tackle his sophomore year before switching to the blind side. In 2014 he was named Notre Dame Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Though not a glamorous position like receiver or linebacker, the job of the offensive line is arguably the most important on the field.
At left tackle, Stanley will be responsible for protecting quarterback Joe Flacco. Keeping him healthy and on the field is paramount for this season. Flacco tore his ACL last season on Nov. 22 against the Rams.
Stanley has been described as calm and confident. Critics say he isn’t passionate enough because he doesn’t put on a show. But what you really need from an offensive lineman is grit and toughness. Stanley appears to have plenty of that.
The Ravens haven't had a dominant, steady left tackle since Jonathan Ogden. The team had big hopes to Michael Oher, but he didn't pan out. Flacco has not have a consistent left tackle, hopefully Stanley is the solution.
Draft predictions had the Ravens selecting an offensive linesman in the first round. Many believed that Laremy Tunsil would be heading to Baltimore. But, after a bizarre video of him was posted on his Twitter account minutes before the draft started, the Ravens changed their focus to Stanley.
The Ravens have no choice but to improve from last year’s dismal season. Plagued by injuries, Baltimore finished the season 5-11, the worst performance by the Ravens since John Harbaugh took over in 2008.
Baltimore also has plenty of work to do on the defensive end. Ravens fans are hopeful that Terrell Suggs will return after a season ending Achilles tear in September 2015. After declining Chris Canty’s option and releasing veteran linebacker Daryl Smith, it makes sense that the Ravens were looking for a pass rusher.
The Ravens drafted linebacker Kamalei Correa from Boise State in the second round. Correa will be a nice addition to (a hopefully healthy) Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. At Boise State, he recorded seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss last season. Correa has 20 sacks in his three-year collegiate career.
There’s still plenty of time before the opening season kickoff, but it’s nice to see the Ravens build up the roster and fill some holes.