The Baltimore Ravens struggled throughout the 2015 NFL season, finishing 5-11 and third in the AFC North. Franchise quarterback Joe Flacco suffered a torn ACL in November and that just capped off what was already an injury-plagued season.
With the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft, the Ravens selected Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley. Many experts believed that Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil would be the first offensive lineman taken off the board. However, Tunsil had a draft night from hell.
Just prior to the draft getting started, Laremy’s Twitter account was hacked and a video of him smoking out of a gas mask bong was posted. This caught many, Tunsil included by surprise and as a result, he fell in the draft to No. 13 to the Miami Dolphins, who get a high-risk, high-reward player.
There is no way that NFL scouts (who do hundreds of hours of homework on these college prospects) would not know about this picture. The thing was the timing of the incident. Someone was out to ruin what should have been the best night of this young man’s life and in a sense, succeeded. However, with that being said, the Ravens decided that there were too many red flags to draft Tunsil and instead went with Stanley. A Baltimore source said that the Ravens had Stanley ranked as high as the fourth best player in the draft.
Multiple reports stated that Baltimore, amongst other teams were trying to trade up to the fourth spot to select the then available Jalen Ramsey. A 6’1, physical defensive back that several teams coveted and some believed to be the best player on the board.
Stanley should be able to slide right in and earn a starting position to try and help keep Flacco on his feet. He started three straight seasons in South Bend and was a second team All-America last year. He should be able to continue his football career as a starter, especially with the lack of production the Ravens have been getting from Eugene Monroe, who simply isn’t cutting it.
Stanley is a smart and dedicated player, something Baltimore officials raved about along with his maturity. He could have declared for the draft last year, but instead chose to go back to Notre Dame because he wanted to compete for a National Championship. That is something that will help him at the pro level. He does need to get a little bit stronger as he will now be dealing with elite NFL pass rushers, but that will come with time.
Twenty years ago the Ravens decided to take offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden over a running back and he turned out to be a great franchise tackle. Now, Baltimore is hoping that this is deja vu, passing on Tunsil and drafting Stanley. Obviously time will tell how either player’s careers pan out, but Baltimore played it safe and have to live with their selection. The two tackles will be compared for the rest of their careers, but the Ravens filled a need with the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft.