Ravens' Rookie Ricky Wagner From A Wisconsin Perspective

Andy Lyons

Here's what Andrew Rosin from SB Nation's University of Wisconsin blog, Bucky's 5th Quarter, says about the newest Ravens offensive lineman.

The Baltimore Ravens drafted OT Ricky Wagner in the 5th round of last month's 2013 NFL Draft, hoping that he follows in the path of other big, brawler-type Wisconsin offensive linemen. With the re-signing of LT Bryant McKinnie, the Ravens have a veteran line, but could use the depth and future potential of guys like Wagner.

Let's see what Rosin, the blogger who watch him in college, says about him filling that need:

Ricky Wagner was a little enigmatic in his college career. He was good enough to start 36 games at both left and right tackle, but he needs tightening on his technique. It's not a question on why isn't he more polished. He was a basketball player when he walked on in Madison. There's still room for him to grow as a technician.

Can he take the next step? It depends on the expectation. Odds are he'd be overexposed playing 16 games at left tackle. One of the reasons he fell to the fifth round from his preseason expectations was the fact that while he maintained the athleticism that got him a few division one basketball offers, it wasn't enough to handle the Senior Bowl speed rushers, and there really isn't more room for him to grow physically. In a pinch? You could get a few weeks of left tackle out of Wagner. But if he's going to start it's going to have to be on the right side.

But he's not the archetypal Badger offensive lineman. He's not a mauler. A part of that was the rawness in technique, but he's a more natural pass blocker than a run blocker. A better fit at right tackle with stronger pass blocking skills? That's that whole enigmatic thing in a nutshell.

Of course, moving him inside is intriguing and probably a good move for Wagner. The athleticism questions that he faced at left tackle disappear, and if you have an offensive line coach that can get him to a good place technically, you'll have a real chance to turn him into a valuable starter. As it is, you could probably get him up to speed as a versatile backup and a key 6th or 7th offensive lineman for the team this season.
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