On May 24, the Buffalo Bills released offensive tackle and former second round pick Cyrus Kouandjio. According to Mike Rodack of ESPN, Kouandjio has not participated in organized team activities this month as he is recovering from hip surgery as a result of a fall in his home in January. In addition, in April, Kouandjio was hospitalized when he was found not wearing any clothes near a highway. However, it seems that the biggest reason for the release of Kouandjio was to make room for the Bills two new signees: tight end Wes Saxton and wide receiver Rod Streater.
The Ravens are in need of a tackle, could they consider Kouandjio as an option?
Despite having been one of the better offensive lineman in college football during his career at Alabama, including being named to the All-SEC first team in his final season in Tuscaloosa, Kouandjio has never lived up to the expectations that come with being the number 44 overall pick. Kouandjio hasn’t been able to crack the starting lineup consistently, only starting seven games in three seasons. He started five games in 2016 when Cordy Glenn went down with an injury.
Kouandjio has struggled with injuries himself, including the one keeping him out of OTA’s this month.
However, in the brief glimpses where Kouandjio has seen the field, he has shown flashes of the potential that we all thought he had when he came out of college. In fact, Kouandjio has the highest 2016 Pro Football Focus grade of any remaining free agent tackle. Kouandjio was the 34th highest graded OT in the NFL, with a grade of 76.7. His pass blocking grade was 78.5, and his run blocking grade was 70.3. While in a small sample size, his PFF grades show that Kouandjio has potential.
If the Ravens were to sign Kouandjio he would have to switch over to right tackle, a position that he has never played before. However, Nolan Nawrocki wrote the following about Kouandjio in his draft profile on NFL.com in 2014:
“Has enough length and anchor strength to survive on the left side, though he will never be a dancing bear, and he projects more ideally as a bulldozing right tackle in a power scheme.”
If that scouting report of Kouandjio is any indication, then a switch to right tackle should probably work for the massive 6’7” lineman. In fact, Kouandjio may be more successful on that side of the line due to his huge frame, and not possessing enough athleticism to be on the left side.
Baltimore may actually be a perfect fit for Kouandjio as it will give the Alabama product a chance to rid himself of the bust label if he can play on the other side of the line. On top of that, the Ravens are actually Kouandjio’s hometown team. Kouandjio played at the prestigious DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland.
The Ravens shouldn’t have to spend to much for Kouandjio, as he has had injury issues, and again, he only started seven games in three years. The Ravens probably would only have to sign him to a one year deal, see how it works out, and extend him for longer if general manager Ozzie Newsome chooses too.
Kouandjio’s hometown team seems like it could be a good fit. He will get a chance to compete for a spot on the right side of the offensive line, and a chance to rejuvenate his career. What’s more, the Ravens likely won’t have to spend much to bring in this high potential offensive lineman. Signing Kouandjio has the potential to be one of Newsome’s low scale summer moves that pays big dividends in the fall, as long as Kouandjio can stay healthy.