Ravens Predicted to Build the Trenches in Draft After Mass Exodus of OL

Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler prepares for Texans' pass rush during Week 1.

Getty Ravens guard Kevin Zeitler prepares for Texans' pass rush during Week 1.

With the calendar officially flipping to April it is now draft month in the NFL and mock draft season is in full swing. For the Baltimore Ravens, filling the massive hole in their offensive line should be the No. 1 priority for general manager Eric DeCosta.

Bleacher Report’s NFL Scouting Department released their latest mock draft projections on Monday, April 1, and projected, “Baltimore Ravens: IOL Graham Barton, Duke.”

BR wrote, “The Baltimore Ravens offensive line might as well consist of orange traffic cones because the unit is currently under construction.”

The Ravens offensive line will look drastically different heading into the 2024 season as DeCosta made it a goal to build the line stronger.

“Baltimore can’t go wrong with taking an offensive lineman in general, though it finds excellent value in Duke’s Graham Barton, who presents enough versatility to start at any of the five positions,” BR explained.

With just OT Ronnie Stanley and C Tyler Linderbaum remaining from last years’ starting line there should be open competition up and down the line.

The Ravens will have a number of options when they pick at No. 30 as this season’s offensive line class has been projected as a deep group.

Barton would immediately have a chance to compete and start as rookie on a team where the trenches will be immensely important.

Ravens OL Rebuild Could Get a Boost From Graham Barton

The Ravens have always placed additional importance on the offensive line with their desire to run to the ball and beat teams into the ground. They were ranked No. 1 in both rushing attempts and rushing yards in 2023.

With QB Lamar Jackson and RB Derrick Henry running in the backfield, a strong 2024 offensive line will be paramount.

BR explained, “Right tackle Morgan Moses, right guard Kevin Zeitler and left guard John Simpson are gone. That trio combined to start 52 games last season, including the postseason. Center Tyler Linderbaum and left tackle Ronnie Stanley are the holdovers from last year’s starting five.

Moses was traded to the New York Jets towards the beginning of free agency and Simpson also joined the Jets as a free agent. Zeitler also left in free agency for the Detroit Lions in what a surprisingly cheaper contract.

The Ravens still have tackle Patrick Mekari, who played significant snaps during 2023, and played exceptionally well on the roster. They also just signed Josh Jones as a depth signing for the tackle position as part of a group of high risk, high reward type players like Andrew Vorhees.

Drafting Barton would give the Ravens a versatile weapon to move around the line in case any of those players do not pan out or to the inevitable chance of injuries.

Barton to ‘Fill the Void’ on the Offensive Line

The Duke Blue Devil will be 22 years old by the start of the 2024 season and if drafted by the Ravens would find himself in a strong position.

Brandon Thorn of Bleacher Report wrote, “The 6’5″, 313-pound blocker is coming off an outstanding pro day after finishing rehab that kept him out of the Senior Bowl and combine, thus solidifying the athletic ability seen on tape.”

It would be a win-win for both player and team as Thorn would have an immediate chance to play due to a lack of options in Baltimore. “Barton gives the Ravens an option to fill in at any of those recent openings,” Thorn explained.

Bleacher Report’s NFL Scouting Department described Barton as, “Skilled, strong run-blocker on base, kick-out and combination blocks thanks to consistently good pad level, body positioning and finishing skills.”

That kind of ability would be perfect in Baltimore’s run-oriented offense.

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