Offensive Line Looking Strong For Ravens

Rob Carr

The Ravens may have the best offensive line they have had since the days of Jonathan Ogden.

Put together a motivated and in shape Bryant Mckinnie, a second year stud/future Pro Bowl guard in Kelechi Osemele, a battle between two motivated young players at center, the best right guard in the NFL and a former left tackle with a mean streak in Michael Oher at right tackle and what do you get? One heck of an offensive line, that's what.

If all quarterback Joe Flacco needs is time in the pocket to be the dominant player he was in the 2012 post season, the Ravens could be looking at a career year for the veteran signal caller. With the offensive line at it's best last season Flacco threw for 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in the four game playoff stretch that ended in a Super Bowl victory. That was with "old man" Birk at center too.

Truth be told, no one is going to come in and match the intelligence and intuition of Birk who played the center position at an all pro level for just about his entire career. However the competition between Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley is sure to bring out the best in two scrappy, smart over-achievers.

The rest of the line is as dangerous as ever though. McKinnie, if motivated, can be a top five left tackle in the NFL. The dude can stone-wall anyone. Kelechi Osemele may have been the Ravens best lineman once he moved inside to guard. This guy gets it and at guard he is way above average. Osemele was a left tackle in college and could possibly play there for the Ravens if need be. We already talked about the center position. Then, you have Marshal Yanda at right guard. Not only has Yanda been the most consistent lineman on the Ravens but he grades out as perhaps the best guard in the league. It doesn't matter if pass blocking or run blocking, Yanda is just a mauler. then you have the Ravens third possible left tackle playing right tackle in Oher. Yes, he showed that he is far from an elite left tackle but on the right side he has tremendous potential. If he can just cut down on the penalties he could be a Pro Bowl tackle. Oher has the quickest first step in the game and is a beast in the run game.

Add in run game coordinator Jaun Castillo and this line could be destined for greatness. With the Ravens improved defensive line and Flacco having more time to survey the field and find his guy it is quite possible that this years Baltimore Ravens could be better than last years Super Bowl winning squad.

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