clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Offensive tackles that could be released or traded

Three options to fill the Ravens final positional need

Baltimore Ravens v Washington Redskins

When the Baltimore Ravens traded away starting defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan in early April, the likelihood of adding enough players to bolster all of the team’s vulnerable positions in time for the 2017 season seemed nearly impossible. Since then, ‘the Wizard’ Ozzie Newsome has been working miracles behind the curtain to give the Ravens a legitimate chance to contend for the championship next season. On paper, the 2017 offseason has been one of his best to date.

Through ace recruiter Eric Weddle’s success in luring multiple desirable free agents, recent draft classes that have stocked the depth chart with many valuable contributors, and a rookie crop that is poised to deliver playmakers at the elusive premium pass defense positions, Baltimore has achieved championship caliber roster depth at nearly every position this offseason.

The lone exception is the offensive line. Wise team owner Steve Bisciotti understands that the focus for the remainder of the offseason should clearly be on improving the offensive line. The importance of blocking for franchise quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense as a whole cannot be understated.

The main question marks along the line are at center and right tackle. Between Ryan Jensen, John Urschel and Matt Skura, the center position should be fine next season. The team would not have traded away veteran starter Jeremy Zuttah for a meager return if they did not have some confidence in their in-house replacement options. Furthermore, the center position is infrequently tasked with one-on-one pass blocking, they usually are free to double team interior rushers. The winner of the center competition, hopefully the powerful Jensen, will be effective if they can just open some creases for the running backs and anchor to prevent big nose tackles from collapsing the pocket.

Right tackle is a different story. The underwhelming James Hurst is currently running with the first team in practice. Other options on the current roster include developmental tackles De’Ondre Wesley and Stephane Nembot. Projected starting guards Marshal Yanda and Alex Lewis could also kick out to right tackle, but that may be counterproductive for a team that is hoping to revive their run game.

None of the tackles currently available in free agency inspire much optimism. Capable blockers are usually scooped up by June. The NFL as a whole has a shortage of quality offensive lineman, as evidenced by mediocre former Raven Rick Wagner’s generous contract.

Acquiring a right tackle who is released or made available for trade in August is probably the Ravens best avenue towards fortifying this crucial position. Each of the three tackles listed below have some deficiencies, which explains why they may become available to the Ravens. Nevertheless, any could provide serviceable play for the Ravens in 2017:

A four-year veteran who started all sixteen games for the Bills run-first offense last season. Mills played well last year, but could become expendable since the Bills drafted plug-and-play tackle Dion Dawkins in the second round. Buffalo’s new coaching staff is expected to incorporate more zone blocking concepts, which may entice them to trade Mills for a future mid-round draft pick.

Parnell has started 31 games at right tackle over the last two seasons for Jacksonville after beginning his career in Dallas. At 30-years-old, Parnell is a decent blocker at best, but he could still help the Ravens if they assist him by using a tight end to chip when pass blocking. Jacksonville had added two starting caliber tackles this offseason by trading for Branden Albert and drafting Cam Robinson. Also worth noting, the Ravens have a history of trading with the Jags for offensive lineman, namely Eugene Monroe.

A familiar name to Ravens nation, Oher began his career in Baltimore as the Ravens first round draft pick in 2009. He played his best football at right tackle for the Ravens in the 2012 postseason, but his inability to avoid pre-snap penalties eventually lead to his departure in free agency. Oher started eleven games on the right side for the Titans in 2014 before protecting the blindside for the Panthers 2015 Super Bowl team. He suited up for only three games last year and is currently in the concussion protocol.