Since the end of the 2015 season, there has obviously been a lot of discussions about what the Baltimore Ravens should do going forward as the 2016 NFL draft approaches. A lot mock drafts have been published with quite a few people hinting that the Ravens should draft Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley with their sixth overall pick. I will tell you two reasons why that is wrong.
But first, before I get into the two reasons why, let me say that I completely understand the left tackle position needing an upgrade at the backup position at the very least. We know three seasons in, that ever since Eugene Monroe has arrived to the Ravens organization via trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2013 season, he just can't stay healthy.
Monroe has missed over 15 games since 2013 which is critical considering he signed a five year deal worth 37.5 million during the 2014 offseason with the Ravens.
Combine that with the fact that backup left tackle James Hurst has not being reliable in terms of his production on the field, and you begin to understand why a lot of people have pointed to the Ravens getting that spot settled especially when quarterback Joe Flacco tore his ACL and MCL due to a lack of execution from his blind side.
Having said that here are the two reasons why the Ravens should not select a left tackle with their first round pick.
1.) The left tackle spot isn't the reason why the Ravens finished 5-11 in 2015
Usually when you end the season poorly, you want to fix the main things that caused your season to end poorly. The left tackle position is not the reason why the Ravens finished 5-11.
Even with the inconsistencies from the left tackle position terms of productivity and unavailability, the Ravens offense still averaged 23 points a game during the time Flacco was still on the field. So it isn't like the Ravens couldn't move the ball at all.
The reason why the Ravens finished 5-11 is because their defense allowed 25 points a game. Monroe missed games for the Ravens during the 2014 season while Hurst was still his backup, but that didn't stop the Ravens from finishing their season at 11-7 with a playoff win. So how does drafting a left tackle high improve the Ravens in terms of reaching the postseason once again? Not by much.
Combine that with the fact that Monroe isn't likely to be traded or released so where are the Ravens going to put Stanley? At left guard assuming Kelechi Osemele leaves? Great, you just drafted a player with the sixth overall pick to be your left guard in his rookie season.
You can draft a left guard with a third, fourth, or fifth round pick. You can also draft backup left tackle with a mid-round pick as well.
2.) Defense is still the calling card for the Ravens
The Ravens need all of the talent they can get on defense. The Ravens lack depth in the pass rushing department. The secondary seems to be destroyed by injuries every season over the last four years. At inside linebacker, veteran Daryl Smith is nearing the end of his career despite leading the team in tackles with 121 during the 2015 season.
Last season was proof that the Ravens can't go away from the identity that made them great for so many years. Whether it is in the front seven or the secondary, the Ravens need to draft the best player available. They really can't go wrong on any spot on defense with the sixth overall pick.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees needs help as well. He needs playmakers because it is obvious that his defense at this point in time, cannot draw up schemes to force turnovers. A defensive back in Jalen Ramsey who is very athletic can provide some help in that department.
The Ravens were 5-11 for a lot of reasons so you really can't say, "The Ravens don't need this or that" they need everything even at quarterback if Flacco gets hurt again. At the end of the day, drafting a left tackle is important. But is it more important than adding more depth on defense with a high draft pick? I don't think so. Not now.