The Baltimore Ravens have reason to be optimistic about their offensive line in 2018. By and large, the whole was greater than the sum of the parts on the line last season. Importanly, the Ravens were able to retain Greg Roman with a promotion to assistant head coach. Furthermore, perhaps the best overall player on the entire team, Marshal Yanda, is set to return to the field.
Yanda suffered a broken ankle in Week 2, an injury that can be troublesome for a player in his mid thirties. But if anyone has the technique and toughness to overcome injury, it is the five time All-Pro guard. Another reason for optimism was the development of Matt Skura, a young player who proved worthy of serving as a high end backup at a minimum.
The Ravens have some decisions to make, as starting center Ryan Jensen and starting guard James Hurst are both impending free agents. Veteran right tackle Austin Howard turned in a solid season, but the chance to save $3 million against the cap may make his release appealing. No matter how the front office allocates their cap space, it is nice to have some capable options on the offensive line.
Regardless of what the Ravens do in free agency, supplementing the offensive line through the draft is always a wise decision. Five intriguing interior line prospects:
- Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
A three-year starter and All-American performer is considered to be the prototypical offensive guard prospect. With ideal size - 6’5, 330 - the former team captain has experience at left tackle, excellent technique, tenacity and dependability. Some analysts are projecting Nelson to be selected in the top-10 of the 2018 draft. He is a terrific prospect, the question for the Ravens is if taking a guard in the first round is the best use of the pick on a team that desperately needs playmakers.
- Billy Price, Ohio State
Another All-American and multi season All-Big 10 blocker, Price was an ironman for the Buckeyes. Following in the footsteps of impressive Vikings rookie center Pat Elflein, he moved from guard to center for his senior season. Price has a pro ready frame at 6’4 315 pounds, and plays with intelligence as well as physicality. Likely to be chosen in the second round, he could be a plug-and-play blocker for the Ravens.
- Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Pro Football Focus’ highest graded collegiate blocker has racked up All-SEC accolades throughout his four seasons as starting center and guard for the Razorbacks. However, a high ankle sprain ended his season in October. Ragnow has plus athleticism for a 6’5, 315 pound athlete. His competitive nature and football smarts are also considered valuable traits. He will probably be selected on Day 2 of the draft.
- Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
Wynn was arguably the best blocker on the field during Monday’s National Championship Game. At 6’2, 305, his lack of length will force move back to guard from the left tackle position he played as a senior. Wynn was a three year starter for the Bulldogs, he brings a nasty temperament as a mauler in the run game. His tremendous strength and quickness would fit well in Roman’s blocking scheme. At this point in the process, it appears Isaiah could come off the board in the third round.
- Mason Cole, Michigan
A three time All-Big 10 honoree with 50 consecutive starts on his resume. Cole has extensive experience at both center and left tackle. Listed at 6’5, 305, he may not have the elite upside of the other blockers on this list, yet Cole is a reliable prospect who uses his hand well and can anchor in pass protection. Another blocker who should fit the Ravens scheme perfectly, Cole could be a a steal if chosen early on Day 3.