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What could Jake Long’s presence mean for Ronnie Stanley?

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have signed veteran offensive tackle Jake Long to provide some experience and reinforcement along its offensive line.

At first glance, this move appears to be nothing more than just a depth signing considering the fact that Long hasn't played very much over the past few seasons. However, the Ravens drafted Ronnie Stanley at number six overall to presumably lock up the left tackle position for the immediate future, so what exactly does this signing mean for Stanley?

The first takeaway is that a need at the position is immediately addressed. After offensive tackle Eugene Monroe was cut by the team, Stanley was clearly the unquestioned starter at the blind side. The Long signing probably doesn’t change that as the team heads towards camp.

Long is a former number one overall draft pick who has played at a high level in the past, but the team clearly sees Stanley as the future of the position. Having said that, the situation isn't necessarily black and white.

If Long outperforms Stanley in training camp, the team could possibly play Long at left tackle, while allowing Stanley to take over elsewhere. What exactly is ‘elsewhere’? There are a few possibilities.

A position of uncertainty right now for the Ravens is left guard. John Urschel is the expected starter, but if he is unable to play up to expectations, Stanley might fill in there for a period of time, while Long takes over to the left of him.

Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden did the same thing for the Ravens in his rookie season where he played left guard, which helped him with his eventual transition to left tackle. This was a scenario that was predicted back when Monroe was still with the team, and while Ravens head coach John Harbaugh played down the idea of Stanley playing guard, the staff shouldn't necessarily rule it out.

Another position this could move Stanley to is at right tackle. Rick Wagner exceeded expectations at right tackle in 2014 when he won the job, but disappointed in his 2015 follow-up act. If Long does somehow end up as the team’s left tackle, it’s a real possibility that Stanley could see a move over to the right side.

Regardless of what happens with Stanley, the signing of Long does provide a much needed veteran presence in the absence of Monroe.