Ronnie Stanley was all over the place in mock drafts leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, but he has to be happy with where he landed when everything was said and done. The Baltimore Ravens took Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick in the draft and he is a perfect addition for them.
It became apparent last season that the Ravens needed help on the offensive line. Joe Flacco was taking a beating throughout the season and ended up going down with a torn ACL. Baltimore also struggled to get their running game going with Justin Forsett before he went down with a season-ending injury.
Baltimore had many different options with their first round selection, but taking Stanley will end up being the best move they could have made.
Standing in at six-foot, six inches and 312 pounds, Stanley is going to be a stone wall on the offensive line. Even with the massive frame that he possesses, Stanley still has impressive quickness and athleticism. That will come into play for the Ravens, and Stanley can become a cornerstone for the Baltimore offense.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network had a favorable comparison for Stanley and is very high on him.
“I think he compares favorably to the Cowboys’ Tyron Smith. That’s high praise. I saw him play a lot of football at Notre Dame. He’s a dancing bear. He was offered several Pac-12 basketball scholarships, so that tells you something about his feet. His pass protection skills are almost as good as Laremy Tunsil’s, but right now Stanley is a better run blocker. Plus, Stanely is totally clean off the field, which is about to come into play.”
Stanley had a chance to enter last year’s NFL Draft, but chose to come back for one more run with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He worked hard throughout the offseason and became a much better player than he was last season. Notre Dame had a very good offensive line, but without Stanley that line would have been nothing close to what it was.
Just looking at the AFC North division, it is obvious why the Ravens went with an offensive lineman. There are pass rushers on every team in the division and Flacco wouldn’t survive another year with the same kind of punishment that he received last season.
There are not many offensive linemen in the draft that have the same kind of quickness and intelligence that Stanley showed throughout his college career.
After suffering through a tough 2015 season, the Ravens are expecting to get back on track in 2016. They will have all of their key players back from injury and have added talent throughout the offseason. Competing with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals is going to be tough, but the Ravens have to feel confident with the roster they are projected to have right now.
Expect to see Stanley break into the starting lineup immediately for the Ravens this coming season. He already possesses the skill-set to be a dominant offensive lineman and has the physical presence to be an upgrade over what Baltimore had last season. Flacco has to be excited about his new offensive lineman and it will be fun to watch him grow in the coming seasons.
Drafting offensive linemen is not a flashy decision for teams, but it is needed and Stanley is about as flashy as an lineman can get.
What do you think of the Baltimore Ravens’ decision to select offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft? Do you think he will end up becoming a cornerstone for their offensive line? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast]