The Ravens have a few holes throughout the roster, but perhaps none of them carry as much significance as the right guard position.
With Marshal Yanda’s retirement earlier in the offseason, the Ravens have an open spot at right guard for the first time in over a decade. While there are a few options to replace the future Hall of Famer, none of them carry Yanda’s presence.
“The thinking is it’s going to be really hard,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I think he’s irreplaceable, bottom line. You can’t say that you’re going to plug in another Marshal Yanda. Probably the same thing applied to Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. To me, he’s in that category.”
Baltimore’s options along the interior offensive line are limited, as center Matt Skura is recovering from a significant knee injury — leaving the starting interior line, from left to right, as Bradley Bozeman, Patrick Mekari and Ben Powers.
Mekari has five starts in his career; Powers has played in just one game.
The team also released James Hurst, who was a versatile offensive lineman who could play both tackle and guard. Now, the Ravens have a lack of depth along the starting offensive line.
Now, they’ll turn their focus to adding talent to the interior offensive line — both talent that can start and provide immediate depth.
“There are some tackles that we think can play inside, play guard,” general manager Eric DeCosta said. “There are some really good guards, some centers in this draft. I think we’ve shown in the past that we can find guys in the second, third, fourth, fifth rounds, offensive linemen who can come in and play.”
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A few early options in the draft figure to be Lloyd Cushenberry III out of LSU, Cesar Ruiz of Michigan and Nick Harris of Washington.
Cushenberry and Ruiz started most of their careers at center, but Harris spent time at guard as well and could provide some much-needed versatility to a position that has some legitimate concerns.
“We’ve got to make sure that we do a great job of making sure the interior offensive line is all set,” Harbaugh said. “How you do it, you do it the old way. We’ve got to look at all the players, try to find the best fits. I don’t think we necessarily have to concern ourselves with what the rest of the league is looking for in the offensive line, or any other position really, but just what we’re looking for and the type of player we want.”
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