I don’t think many at this point will be unaware of the fact that the Baltimore Ravens have had quite a bit of trouble in assembling a cohesive offensive line for the 2017 season, a process that began way back in the spring. Even as they head into the regular season, there are still two positions along the line that are not fully settled.
Adding to the mix are a pair of offensive linemen that the Ravens have traded for over the course of the past two days. On Friday, they sent a conditional seventh-round draft pick to the Texans in exchange for center Tony Bergstrom. Yesterday, they added yet another offensive lineman, Luke Bowanko, for an as-yet undisclosed draft pick.
Not only has their starting offensive line, but also their depth, been ravaged in multiple directions this offseason. It began early in free agency when they lost starting right tackle Rick Wagner. They later traded center Jeremy Zuttah to the 49ers for, I believe, a swap of sixth-round draft picks.
San Francisco ended up releasing Zuttah, and the Ravens picked him back up, but they have since released him again. Considering their situation, that must really say something about how much he is struggling, despite the fact that he made his first Pro Bowl a year ago as an alternate.
Over the course of the past couple of months, Baltimore lost their starting left guard, second-year Alex Lewis, to a shoulder injury. Rookie fourth-round pick Nico Siragusa also suffered a season-ending injury, robbing them of a major contender to take over at either left guard or center. Veteran reserve John Urschel also decided to retire.
The Ravens signed Austin Howard to take over at right tackle, and left tackle and right guard have been secured all along, but they are still sorting out what the best combination will be for left guard and center. Fourth-year reserve Ryan Jensen has been running at center and James Hurst has moved to guard since the signing of Howard.
Both of them are career backups, but those who they brought in could provide competition, even though neither of them are starters. Bowanko, a former sixth-round pick entering his fourth year, did start 14 games as a rookie for the Jaguars following two games of dismal play by their offensive line that required a major shakeup. Bergstrom, a sixth-year veteran, had four career starts, none last season.
While they did not give up much to acquire either one, the pair together does not inspire a lot of confidence, and if they do play, it will ensure that their group will lack any form of continuity, considering they were not even on the team a few days ago. At least Hurst and Jensen have been around for years.