Nobody in the NFL had worse luck last season than did the Baltimore Ravens, who nevertheless entered the second half of the year in position to seize the first seed in the conference before everything—especially what was left of their secondary—fell apart.
One of the first major injuries to strike was to All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who injured his ankle the year before shortly after signing a huge contract extension in-season. Stanley only played one game, the opener, before having a setback with his ankle and missing the rest of the year, requiring follow-up surgery.
Since then, the Ravens have taken a more open approach, simply hoping to have Stanley whenever he is ready, whether that be at the start of the season or some time beyond that. Recently, however, there have been positive developments about his potential availability.
Ian Rapoport reported yesterday, for example, that a medical check-up recently completed showed that Stanley is on track to be ready to return to the field in time for the start of the 2022 regular season, which would certainly be a big boost for the Ravens after weathering this past season with Alejandro Villanueva and Patrick Mekari at tackle.
The #Ravens pick at No. 14, and while they could go in several directions, the health of Ronnie Stanley could allow them to simply take the best player. https://t.co/zO5Nko4Ans
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 25, 2022
Baltimore holds the 14th overall pick this year after finishing last season with an 8-9 record, which included a six-game losing streak to finish out the year. There will surely be plenty of quality tackles available there, and previous comments from head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Eric DeCosta have indicated that they would be open to drafting one.
They do have options at right tackle, having signed Morgan Moses in free agency, and with Ja’Wuan James returning to availability this year as well. If they do indeed get Stanley back, which they should, they shouldn’t need to draft one that high.
The Ravens signed Stanley to a five-year extension worth just a hair under $100 million at the end of October 2020. He is still under contract through the 2025 season, so that’s four more years. He has played in all of two out of 28 games played since signing the deal, due to that ankle injury.
They are, of course, hoping that the can return and pick up where he left off, showing himself to be one of the best young left tackles in the game. He just turned 28 in March, heading into year seven, so he certainly still had some time left…after all, Andrew Whitworth just won a Super Bowl at age 40 at left tackle, so there’s obviously precedent for longevity there.