“They’re one of the last teams that needs a true left tackle”, Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole told us Friday on “The Reality Check” on WNST. “Most teams right now-even the Patriots with (Tom) Brady-play so much four wide, five wide, three wide, get rid of the ball really fast, atypical football. Even Pittsburgh with (Ben) Roethlisberger plays a lot of three and four wide, one back stuff, ‘get rid of it and let Roethlisberger run around and create a play.’ Because Flacco is not a dynamic runner, you have to have more of your prototypical left tackle. Flacco can move decently enough, but not great. You have to have that 6’5″-6’6″, long-armed guy who can maybe resemble a Jonathan Ogden or a Bryant McKinnie.”
So if it isn’t McKinnie, who is it? There’s likely to be a decent market at LT in free agency, headlined by New Orleans Saints LT Jermon Bushrod (Towson) and Miami Dolphins LT Jake Long. Even Kansas City Chiefs LT Brandon Albert could hit the market if Andy Reid and company choose to go a different way. But all of those players will cost money, of which the Ravens have little-especially if they have to tag Flacco. A number of Tackle prospects said this weekend they had met with the Ravens, including Florida State’s Menelik Watson.
The draft offers limited options as well. True left tackls will come off the board early, with Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel possibly replacing Albert in KC and going #1 overall. Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher and Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson are both very unlikely to be around when the Ravens pick 32nd, and Alabama’s DJ Fluker is not considered the sure fire prospect even if he’s available. There tackle prospects likely to be on the board late in the first round or in the second round aren’t likely guys you’d want to line up in Week 1 to protect your potentially $100 million quarterback.
Previously drafted tackles on the roster like Ramon Harewood and Jah Reid have done absolutely nothing to make you think they’d be options to play the position next season. If this scenario plays out as I’ve described, the team could find itself in a position where they turn back to Michael Oher.
I’m not the only one that wouldn’t give such a decision a pass.
“That’s not good enough. Michael Oher is a right tackle” La Canfora told us Friday on ” The Reality Check” on WNST. “They’re going to have to be doing a contract dance with Michael Oher a year from now. You don’t want to pay him as a left tackle, you don’t want to play him as a left tackle. Keep him at right tackle.”
So as I tell you that the Ravens must address their left tackle situation quickly, I admit that there aren’t easy answers.
But as we sit and discuss the merits of Te’o, resigning Dannell Ellerbe, whether or not Ed Reed returns and more, I can’t shake the feeling that none of it is even in the realm of the importance of handling the tackle position.
Or at worst upgrading over Michael Oher.