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PFF ranks Ravens’ offensive line 12th in the NFL

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NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus ranked every offensive line in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season. The Baltimore Ravens landed at 12th overall.

The Ravens’ offensive linemen combined for the third-best overall grade in 2019, but the group dropped off to just 23rd last season. Losing starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley to injury was a big part of that decline, as he played only 312 snaps on the year. Stanley has developed into one of the best pass protectors in the game, grading out at 92.8 in 2019 and 91.0 last season. He’s less effective as a run blocker, but he’s recorded a 65.0 grade or better in every year since entering the league in 2016.

Baltimore traded former starting right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, and the team waited until after the draft to replace him with free agent tackle Alejandro Villanueva. Villanueva has played left tackle his entire career, so it will be an adjustment moving to the right side. He’s been the model of consistency at the position, grading between 74.0 and 81.2 in each of his past five years while never grading below 77.0 as a pass blocker during that time.

The interior of the Ravens’ offensive line was a weakness in 2020, but they have a potential big upgrade at right guard in Kevin Zeitler. He’s coming off the worst season of his career, but he graded between 73.0 and 89.0 in every season since 2012. Heading into his 10th season, Zeitler has historically been a solid run blocker and an excellent pass protector. It’s worth the risk for Baltimore to see if he can get back to previous form.

Bradley Bozeman returns to start at left guard after posting a 63.4 grade in 2019, 36th among guards, and a 64.3 grade in 2020, good for 41st. The Ravens used three different starting centers last year, including Patrick Mekari, who topped the list with a 66.9 overall grade. He returns as the starter in 2020 after doing his best work in pass protection, surrendering only eight pressures on 275 attempts en route to an 86.5 such grade that ranked second in the league.

The Ravens have a solid all-around offensive line, but they need a smooth transition from Villanueva and improved play on the interior in order to move up the rankings.

Ronnie Stanley’s health will be a major factor for the 2021 season. Stanley has been among the league’s best offensive tackles over the past few years. If he is 100% healthy, this ranking could look relatively low.

However, there are many other players to watch along the Ravens’ offensive line following an eventful offseason. Bradley Bozeman will take over as the team’s starting center after starting at left guard.

Veteran tackle Alejandro Villanueva will take over the right tackle spot following the departure of Orlando Brown Jr. Kevin Zeitler represents an upgrade at guard, while Patrick Mekari, Ben Cleveland, Tyre Phillips, and others could compete for the remaining guard spot.

Overall, the loss of Brown stings, as he was one of the premier players at his position. Nevertheless, the interior line, in particular, has the potential to be much improved this season with the addition of Zeitler and Bozeman’s switch to center. Overall, the unit should outperform last season’s group. In the playoffs, the Ravens started Brown, Bozeman, Mekari, Phillips, and Ben Powers. That is not ideal when you’re trying to contend for a championship.

As for the rest of the list, the Browns, Colts, and Patriots were the top three, while the Giants were ranked last.