”He’s irreplaceable – bottom line. You can’t say you’re going to plug in another Marshal Yanda. Probably the same thing applied to Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. He’s in that category,” Harbaugh said.
”We’re going to have to really do a great job there. That’s one of the biggest challenges. That’s probably job No. 1 or 2. We’ve got to make sure we do a great job of making sure the interior offensive line is almost set.”
“Our offensive line is very important. It’s a very critical element of our team and our offense, always has been and I think even moreso now than ever the way we’re built. We need to be great up front,” Harbaugh said.
”Taking Marshal out of that equation is not just a one-guy deal. He’s a force multiplier. He exponentially makes the offensive line better because he makes all the players around him so much better, including the quarterback and the rest of the offensive line.”
“There are some tackles that we think can play inside at guard. There are some really good guards, centers in this draft,” DeCosta said. “I think we’ve shown in the past that we can find guys in the second, third, fourth and fifth rounds at offensive line that can come in and play.”
BIGGEST ADDITION: Calais Campbell, defensive end.
Campbell’s move to Jacksonville back in 2017 was stunning and significant, and he could be even more impactful in Baltimore. Ravens fans will quickly forget how 2019 looked without Za’Darius Smith when Campbell lines up at defensive end and Matthew Judon returns on the franchise tag to hunt from the edge.
AFC North passers will always have to identify where Campbell is lining up when playing the Ravens, making Baltimore that much more difficult of an opponent to face in 2020.
BIGGEST LOSS: Marshal Yanda, right guard.
Old team: Baltimore Ravens. New team: Retired.
Any time a team loses a future Hall of Famer, it’s a big blow to the roster’s overall strength. For a franchise that was a favorite to win its conference before an unexpected postseason one-and-done last winter, it’s even more significant. Baltimore succeeded in 2019 in large part because of its running game, which led the league in yards per contest and befuddled opposing defenses, thanks to the dual-threat nature of its MVP quarterback.
Baltimore Ravens: Receiver seems to be an area where the Ravens might look to spend a draft pick or two to provide another legitimate threat alongside Marquise Brown. After trading away Hayden Hurst, Baltimore is still strong at tight end but could pick up another new face at the position. Of course, we’ll have to see how Ben Powers plays in place of Marshal Yanda at right guard, but we’ll leave analysis of that change until the season. Defensively, the Ravens feel pretty confident about their linebacking corps, handing L.J. Fort a two-year extension in November and keeping Matt Judon with a franchise tag, but we could see that position receive a reinforcement via the draft or later free-agent signing. The rest of the defense is largely set, thanks to the addition of Derek Wolfe and elevation of Chuck Clark to permanent starter at strong safety, a position he manned after the loss of Tony Jefferson in 2019.
Mekari was one of two undrafted free agents to make the Ravens’ final 53-man roster along with linebacker Otaro Alaka. He began the year as a reserve offensive lineman, but he was still able to see Yanda shift into regular-season mode.
“Obviously, in the preseason he didn’t play. He’s kind of laying low during OTAs, just getting his body right for the season. I didn’t know him too well then. I’m like, ‘Oh, this guy’s kind of quiet. He’s a quiet guy,’” Mekari said on Glenn Clark Radio March 26. “And then we went to Miami for our first game and he’s losing his mind. And I’m like, ‘This is insane.’ I didn’t know he had this side to him, I had no idea. He’s just losing it. I’m like, ‘This is unbelievable for a guy in his 13th, 14th year to be this hyped and pumped up for his first game again.’ It was awesome.”
Turns out, the rest of the Ravens’ offensive linemen saw things later that wowed them regarding Yanda, too.
“It’d happen a lot,” Mekari said. “There’s time in film that something would happen and we’re like, ‘Man, we didn’t even catch that on the field. Like, no one even saw it or talked about it.’ And it happened often. I’m talking like every week to every other week, so it was incredible.”
2020 NFL Mock Draft: Six first-round trades as two teams jump for QBs while Jets swing two deals - R.J. White
Round 1 - Pick 17
K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE
LSU • SOPH • 6’3” / 254 LBS
The Ravens leap up the board to secure the second-best pass-rusher in the draft, giving up No. 28 and 60 to find a potential long-term No. 1 edge talent should Matt Judon not stick around past this season.