When the Baltimore Ravens released left tackle Eugene Monroe on Wednesday this week, rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley immediately became the starter for the Ravens at the position not only in 2016 but for years to come. There's obvious pressure on Stanley to perform not only because the Ravens selected him with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but because the Ravens are a bit thinner in terms of depth at left tackle.
The Ravens need Stanley to stay healthy like humans need air to breathe. If Stanley goes down with an injury, the Ravens are looking at rookie fourth-round offensive tackle Alex Lewis to take his place or offensive tackle James Hurst as well. That's risky. But the Ravens don't have a choice but to deal with it and Stanley understands that he needs to perform like a sixth overall draft pick.
"I was talking to some people saying this is probably the first time ever that I've felt this kind of pressure. I've never really felt pressure like that before," Stanley noted via BaltimoreRavens.com."You've just got to be mentally strong," Stanley continued. "You've got to think clearly, stay in the moment, don't try to think that far ahead. You've just got to go out with a positive mindset every day that you want to get better."
Stanley has the skill set to be the best left tackle in the NFL and bring stability at the position that the Ravens have not seen since Super Bowl 47 MVP quarterback Joe Flacco was drafted by the team in 2008. Stanley's production will go a long way in deciding how well the Ravens offense will play as an overall unit because if the offensive line can give Flacco time to throw, he can pick apart any defense in the NFL.