Sports Illustrated released their 2016 NFL Re-Draft before the midpoint of the 2016 season. Clearly, this is way, way, way too early to second guess draft choices. But we will share their insight anyway...
Fair or not, Ronnie Stanley will be measured against Laremy Tunsil over the course of their careers, just as Jared Goff will be measured against Carson Wentz. However, comparing Stanley’s performance at left tackle to Tunsil’s showing at left guard is not a fair juxtaposition. Jack Conklin, the Titans starting right tackle who was chosen with the eighth pick, placed higher on SI’s redraft than either of the consensus top rated offensive tackles before the draft.
Their redrafted top five looks familiar, with Wentz moving up to the first pick, Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey moving up two spots to number three, and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott staying put at number four. Dak Prescott, the Cowboys fourth round signal caller, catapulted up to the number two spot in this redraft. Sports Illustrated did not include any Ravens rookies in the first round of their redraft.
After starting off on the right foot against Buffalo and Cleveland, Stanley struggled mightily against Jacksonville and especially Pittsburgh. He missed the four games between the Jaguars and Steelers games with a foot ailment that has likely hindered him since Week 2. Unfortunately, injuries are part of the evaluation process. Availability matters and Stanley was thought to be the safer pick health wise when compared to Tunsil coming out of college.
At this extremely early juncture in the respective rookie’s careers, a redraft is essentially meaningless. Still, the Ravens desperately need Stanley to block better and eliminate penalties in order to justify his selection. By the midpoint of next season, he should be considered among the top half of left tackles in the league, and then develop into an elite caliber player early in his fourth season to fulfill his lofty draft slot.
Whiffing on Day 2 draft picks like Arthur Brown and Terrence Brooks is definitely not ideal, but not insurmountable either. Missing on a top six overall selection, the highest draft slot the franchise has owned in fifteen years is much more detrimental and can cripple a team long term.
Promising early results from Tavon Young, Alex Lewis and Matt Judon make the Ravens 2016 draft crop look like a solid double at a minimum. However, poor salary cap management and weak returns on the 2012, 2013 and 2015 draft classes may have required the Ravens to hit a homerun in the 2016 draft. Realistically, the roster needed to be replenished with above average performers at several positions in order to field a championship level roster. Hopefully Ronnie Stanley grabs ahold of his opportunities in the second half of this season.