Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
The Ravens will need to make a decision at left tackle, especially with Bryant McKinnie an unrestricted free agent.
In this year's draft, offensive tackle, guard and center are all in play for the Ravens. Though Bryant McKinnie transformed the team's offensive line throughout the playoffs after being inserted at left tackle, he's an unrestricted free agent this year, and the Ravens may not be able to retain him.
Center Matt Birk's future is up in the air, with retirement a very real possibility. Guard/tackle Ramon Harewood is also an unrestricted free agent, Michael Oher has shown he's not well-suited to the left tackle job, guard Jah Reid dealt with first a calf and then later, a toe injury, that marred his 2012 season. Needless to say, the overall depth and talent level of the Ravens' offensive line could certainly use work.
The problem here is whether or not there's a worthy offensive tackle for the Ravens in the first round. Or whether there's one they could find in the second or third round who will be skilled enough to compete for a starting job right away. The same can also be said for both guards and centers. So they'll need to pay special attention to the offensive linemen at the combine and try to find themselves a diamond in the rough in earlier rounds.
Oklahoma's Lane Johnson may be the only starting-caliber offensive tackle available to the Ravens in the first round.
His Senior Bowl performance, in particular, has his draft stock on the rise, and the combine will do much to solidify just what kind of first-rounder he'll be—if Johnson moves up to a top-20-type pick, the Ravens may have to trade up if they're in love with his skill set. Otherwise Syracuse's Justin Pugh or LSU's Chris Faulk would be their next best bets, in the second round.
At guard, the Ravens may have better luck. The level of talent in this year's draft class combined with relative demand around the league could result in the Ravens finding the right fit in the second or third rounds. Guys the Ravens will be watching at the combine include Tennessee's Dallas Thomas, Kentucky's Larry Warford, Alabama's Barrett Jones and Wisconsin's Travis Frederick.
Both Jones and Frederick have played multiple offensive line positions. Jones could be better off as a center in the NFL while Frederick, who moved to center in 2012, seems to be a better professional guard. A versatile lineman would be an ideal pickup for the Ravens this year, so players who have had experience at more than one position should be squarely on Baltimore's radar.