Ravens' position analysis: Offensive line

The Baltimore Ravens' team page continues to a take a position-by-position review of the team's 2013 season and give a sneak peek of what lies ahead:


Under contract (2014 salary-cap number): G Marshal Yanda ($8.45 million), G Kelechi Osemele ($912,510), G Jah Reid ($785,810), C Gino Gradkowski ($691,106), G-C A.Q. Shipley ($570,000), OT Rick Wagner ($531,140), C Ryan Jensen ($514,670), C Reggie Stephens (future-reserve contract).

2014 free agents: OT Eugene Monroe, OT Michael Oher.

The good: The Ravens stabilized Joe Flacco's blind side when they traded for Eugene Monroe in October. He's not a Pro Bowl left tackle, but he was a significant upgrade over Bryant McKinnie. Right guard Marshal Yanda remains the most talented lineman for the Ravens, and he finished the second half of the season strong. Yanda earned a Pro Bowl invitation for a third straight season. A.Q. Shipley, who is a center, did an admirable job at left guard after Kelechi Osemele went down with a season-ending back injury.

The bad: This was the weakest group on the team. The line failed to open running lanes and had too many breakdowns in pass protection. The Ravens found out they need to upgrade at center after Gino Gradkowski got pushed back too often in his first full season as a starter. Right tackle Michael Oher struggled in pass protection and whiffed too many times in run blocking. Yanda led the Ravens offensive linemen with seven tackles, including five false starts.

The money: The Ravens only have enough salary-cap space to re-sign one tackle in free agency, and Monroe is considered the first choice. He not only plays the higher-profile position but the Ravens gave up fourth- and fifth-round picks to get him four months ago. If they're unable to sign Monroe, the Ravens will likely look to bring back Oher. In that scenario, the Ravens would put Oher back at left tackle. The Ravens may also look for a center in free agency. With young centers like Gradkowski and Ryan Jensen on the roster, it doesn't make sense to draft another one.

Draft priority: High. The Ravens need to find a starting right tackle, unless they're sold on Rick Wagner (a fifth-round pick from a year ago) can step up next season. A right tackle -- like Michigan's Taylor Lewan or Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio -- could be available in the middle of the first round for Baltimore. The Ravens will look at guards if they're unsure if Osemele can fully recover from back surgery.