With Marshal Yanda’s career officially over, the contributors of Baltimore Beatdown provided their thoughts as to where this leaves the offensive line and right guard.
We will hold a press conference tomorrow at 11 a.m. for Marshal Yanda to officially retire. He will be joined by Eric DeCosta, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) March 10, 2020
You can watch the press conference live on our website, mobile app and Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/3YmT4xH6IV
With Yanda’s retirement, the right guard position sky-rockets to a top three need. Marshal’s been the anchor of this offensive line for a decade-plus and while there are new stars among the blocking unit, his leadership, work ethic and capability to gel together with his line-mates was unmatched. There’s a reason Yanda, an offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens, was a household NFL name. — Kyle P. Barber
Losing Yanda to retirement is a major blow to the Ravens blocking unit. The eight-time Pro Bowl veteran anchored Baltimore’s blocking unit with toughness, consistency, communication and leadership for many seasons.
Bolstering the interior of the offensive line was going to be an offseason priority even if Yanda returned due to Matt Skura’s potentially career-ending knee injury and the fact that the offensive line’s underwhelming playoff performances have played a significant role in the consecutive postseason disappointments.
With Yanda’s retirement official, interior blocking now catapults to the top of the list of offseason needs, ranked right beside pass rush in order of importance. Second-year lineman Patrick Mekari and Ben Powers have shown promise but the team needs depth and another mauler who can hold his ground against talented fronts in high leverage games. Adding an established free agent or early round draft pick will be an essential component to the Ravens championship aspirations. — Vasilis Lericos
Expect interior offensive linemen to sky-rocket in first-round mock drafts for the Ravens with Marshal Yanda’s retirement. Replacing Yanda is something that will be almost impossible to accomplish but selecting a top-tier guard in the draft could help to lessen the blow of his absence in 2020. With the loss of Yanda and C Matt Skura recovering from a brutal knee injury, interior offensive line suddenly becomes a big need, just behind edge rusher for Baltimore. Second-year player Ben Powers could get a shot to fill in at RG this season after barely playing as a fourth-round pick in 2019. Expect Eric DeCosta to select an offensive lineman pretty early in the draft, however.
After an illustrious career that has been filled with many All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections, Yanda’s next stop is surely Canton where he belongs. Yanda has given everything he could to this franchise, as a player, a leader, and a figure in the community. His absence will be felt immensely. Players like Yanda are once in a generation. — Dustin Cox
Roughly a month ago, I wrote about how Yanda’s eventual decision on retirement would significantly alter the course of the Ravens offseason. Now that Yanda has officially decided to hang up the cleats, drafting or adding an interior offensive lineman in free agency immediately becomes maybe the most pressing need facing the organization.
Simply put: there is no outright replacing a player of Yanda’s caliber. No one addition will step in and replicate the combination of talent, reliability and pedigree that Yanda brought to the offensive line and locker room. Yanda played an extremely important role in the team’s success this past season. There’s no ignoring the fact the offensive line does not perform at the same level they did if someone like James Hurst, Ben Powers or Patrick Mekari started at right guard instead of Yanda.
The aforementioned names listed above are currently the team’s only in-house options to replace Yanda in the lineup. Depending on the health of Matt Skura, though, Mekari could be the lead candidate to start at center, which only makes right guard even more of a need.
Eric DeCosta would be smart to double-dip at guard and/or center in the draft, as well explore potential options on the free agent market. — Frank Platko
Marshal Yanda was one of the greatest offensive lineman of his era. He was a seven-time All-Pro and a Super Bowl Champion. He was critical to the Ravens record-breaking rushing attack last season, and he will go out on a high-note. He should rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame one day. In the meantime, he will be irreplaceable for the Ravens next season. Guard just became a huge priority. — Jakob Ashlin