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Why Eugene Monroe will probably be a Raven in 2016

No matter how you feel about the left tackle position on the Ravens roster, there's a good reason to keep Eugene Monroe around.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe has been a disappointment during his Ravens tenure. Health was supposed to be one of the strong points of Monroe's calling-card, seeing as he was the NFL's fifth most durable lineman before the 2014 season. But it seems that now he can't finish a game without getting hurt. Because of this, there's been some speculation of him being a candidate for a trade or just outright being released and some NFL mock drafts have the Ravens taking an offensive tackle with their sixth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

But the more I think about it, Eugene Monroe is unlikely to go anywhere in 2016. Here's why:

First off, there's the money aspect. Eugene Monroe currently has an $8.7 million cap hit. Releasing him would only save $2.1 million while creating $6.6 million in dead money.  If the Ravens were to release him, it would be more sensible to do so in 2017, where the Ravens have less dead money and releasing Monroe would save $4.55 million while creating only $4.4 million in dead money.

Second, recent history shows that offensive tackles taken in the top 10 rarely start out at left tackles during their rookie year and even if they do, they are rarely starter-caliber players. Eric Fisher spent the first two seasons of his career is a below-average right tackle before succeeding at left tackle this season, Luke Joeckel played one game at left tackle in 2013 before his season ended, was rated as one of the league's worst tackles in 2014, before turning the corner in 2015. Lane Johnson has yet to play left tackle. Jake Matthews struggled at left tackle as a rookie but got better this season, Ereck Flowers was actually rated as the NFL's worst left tackle and Brandon Scherff started at right tackle this season.

So if the Ravens decided to part with Eugene Monroe and draft an offensive tackle with their sixth overall pick with the intention of making him a starter, there's reason to believe that it won't turn out well and that it will be a two to three year project. Not the best way to keep Joe Flacco safe and maybe it's just me, but the sixth overall pick shouldn't be a player that takes two to three years to help turn around the team.

Eugene Monroe might not be the replacement for Jonathan Ogden that we might've been hoping for when the Ravens traded for him in 2013. But the Ravens would do well to keep him around for one more season while drafting a tackle somewhere between rounds 2-4 of the draft to develop as a replacement if Monroe doesn't elevate his play in 2016. Now if the Ravens somehow manage to keep Kelechi Osemele around in 2016, then it might make a little bit more sense to part ways with Monroe.