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Report: Ravens Expected to Sign Alejandro Villanueva After Orlando Brown Trade

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (78) plays during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Cleveland Browns in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens are moving quickly to replace Orlando Brown Jr., as they are reportedly expected to sign free-agent offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

According to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, Villanueva visited with the Ravens on Thursday, and while he is expected to join them, it may not become official until after next week's NFL draft.

Hensley's report came shortly after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Ravens are trading Brown and draft picks to the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 31 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and other selections in 2021 and 2022.

A one-time undrafted free agent out of Army, Villanueva took over a starting job for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015 and never looked back. He has started all 16 regular-season games in each of the last five years, playing 100 percent of snaps in each of the last three years, per Pro Football Reference.

While durability is important, the 32-year-old has also thrived on the field with two Pro Bowl selections to his name.

Despite his past success, the Steelers' offensive line struggled as a whole in 2020 with a rushing attack that finished dead last in the NFL in yards per attempt. Adding in cap constraints, it was unlikely he was going to return to Pittsburgh this offseason.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in January the tackle "will not be re-signed."

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Villanueva will now get a chance at a fresh start with the Ravens, slotting into the right tackle spot with Ronnie Stanley starting at left tackle.

Veteran free-agent signing Kevin Zeitler will also help at guard on the rebuilt line as the Ravens look to remain one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL.

The latest move could help Baltimore's Super Bowl aspirations, while taking away a key piece from the division rival Steelers will only help in the fight for the AFC North crown.

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