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Measuring Pass Protection

Current 2011 NFL Draft prospect, offensive tackle Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) was on Sirius' NFL Radio Wednesday afternoon and at the end of his very impressive interview, he got the opportunity to pimp his most recent collaboration, the New York Life Protection Index. It takes a bunch of factors into account in analyzing an NFL team's ability to protect the quarterback. Measuring offensive lines in a way that includes not only sacks, but hurries, knockdowns as well as false start and holdingpenalties, they come up with a number that can be compared to other units around the league.

With that in mind and not getting into the minutia of details, the Baltimore Ravens ranked 18th in the NFL in 2010, way too low to allow QB Joe Flacco to improve to the extent that many fans, including me, expect him to. Without the time t go through his reads and do his job, he will not be able to lead this offense in the way that the offense is expected to deliver.

Unless this offensive line gets way up into the top ten if not higher in this Protection Index, the Ravens will have a very difficult time reaching their goal of another Super Bowl Championship. The best way to improve this will be to shore up the offensive line and the first step in doing this is to select an offensive tackle to start on the right side in Thursday night's 2011 NFL Draft. This automatically improves the Ravens in all aspects of the offense.

It allows Marshal Yanda to move back to right guard, leaves Chris Chester as a versatile and valuable backup along the line and takes the pressure off of Flacco to have the confidence that he will have the time he needs to find his open receivers and not continuously check down to Ray Rice too often. It also opens bigger holes in the run game which in turn opens up the passing game.

No one position on the entire team affects so many others as offensive line does. Start the process of reaching this offense's true potential through the selection of an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.