One of the Baltimore Ravens’ biggest priorities this offseason was upgrading their offensive line. Last season, the group was patchworked during the year because of injuries and struggled to hold up down the stretch.
The Ravens made it a point to avoid this situation again. In free agency, they signed veteran offensive tackle Morgan Moses to fill the right tackle spot. In the draft, they selected center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round before drafting another offensive tackle in the fourth round, Daniel Faalele.
The hope is that these acquisitions, along with the return of Ronnie Stanley and some internal development from young players, will lead to the Ravens’ having a top-tier offensive line. Seth Walder, an Analytics Writer for ESPN, is apparently sold on this proposition.
Walder recently published projections for the NFL’s best and worst offensive line groups in 2022. He predicted where every team’s offensive line would rank in terms of pass block and run block rates.
On his list, the Ravens’ landed No. 5 overall, with a predicted pass block rank of No. 6 and run block rank of No. 8.
“[Ronnie] Stanley was once a top-seven tackle in both run blocking and pass blocking, but with only seven games played over the past two seasons, the model is no longer banking on him being elite,” Walder wrote. “Free agent signing [Morgan] Moses upgrades the right tackle position in terms of pass protection protection (91% PBWR last season, 16th best among tackles).”
Even though Walder’s model does not project Stanley to perform at an elite level, the Ravens still rank Top-8 in both pass and run blocking projections. That’s in large part due to addition of Moses, as well as the team’s offensive guard play.
“[Ben] Powers was exceptional in run blocking last season, as was [Kevin] Zeitler in pass protection,” Walder added.
Zeitler was the team’s best and most consistent offensive lineman last season. He started all 17 games and allowed just one sack in over 1,200 snaps. He’s one of the biggest reasons for optimism for the Ravens’ offensive line heading into 2022.
Powers was the team’s primary left guard in 2021 and started 12 of the 13 appearances he made. As Walder notes, he was “exceptional” as a run blocker, which flew under the radar a bit. The starting left guard job has been labeled an open competition heading into this season, with Powers, Tyre Phillps and Ben Cleveland all vying as candidates.
Despite his high-level run blocking, some have viewed Powers as a potential trade candidate before the season. At the same time, the coaching staff recently said he’s the current “frontrunner” in the left guard competition.
Regardless, the remaining four spots on the offensive line are pretty much set in stone with Zeitler, Moses, Stanley and rookie Tyler Linderbaum projected as starters. With Stanley still out currently, the Ravens have been playing veteran Ja’Waun James at left tackle.
On Walder’s list, the four teams ranked in front of Baltimore are the Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs, who occupy the No. 1 spot. By this projection, the Ravens will have the third-best offensive line in the AFC and the best offensive line in the AFC North.