The Baltimore Ravens had a historic offense last season. Not only did they set a new NFL rushing record, they were also among the highest-scoring units in NFL history, and especially when limited to the recent past. Their offensive line was a key strength in helping them achieve these marks.
And the line took a big hit with the retirement of Marshal Yanda. The Ravens have a number of candidates in the mix who will look to replace him, but none can even compare to his pedigree, and a couple of them are rookies.
That includes Ben Bredeson, who does have one benefit: he was coached by Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. His brother just so happens to have been the head coach for Baltimore since 2008, and John Harbaugh has a good relationship with his brother, as well as commonalities in their coaching philosophy.
“You can definitely see a lot of glaring similarities between the two”, Bredeson told the team’s website about his college and now NFL head coaches. “The way the playbook is set up, the way the program is being run, their mannerisms; a lot of them are the same. It’s comforting for me knowing that I’m still in the Harbaugh family”.
I’m not sure if there is another head coach in the league right now who also has a sibling, or even direct family member, who is a head coach at the college level. It’s a pretty rare pipeline to be coached by one brother collegiately and then to be drafted by the other professionally.
A fourth-round pick, Bredeson will be in competition to start at right guard, but he has several competitors, including third-round pick Tyre Philips. They also drafted Steelers fan Ben Powers the year before, and recently came to a contract agreement with veteran lineman D.J. Fluker, who is presumably the current favorite to win the job.
There is an outside shot that the left guard spot could also be jumbled, though third-year Bradley Bozeman did start every game there last season. For his part, Bredeson said that he is equally comfortable at all three interior offensive line positions, with center expected to be occupied once again by Alex Skura.
The Ravens’ strength here is of course at tackle, where they have Ronnie Stanley on the left side and Orlando Brown on the right, both of whom were Pro Bowlers last season. Stanley will soon join the ranks of the highest-paid tackles in NFL history, and for his performance, he has earned it.