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With so much focus on the flaring needs on the offensive line, Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the wisdom and ideology behind the Ravens’ selection of cornerback Nate Wiggins in the first round and how the franchise will ultimately protect Lamar Jackson and stoke the running game.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

draft, talking, offensive line, year, ronnie stanley, ravens, week, pick, move, moses, starter, second round pick, terms, quarterback, players, tackle, offensive lineman, team, guard, linder

SPEAKERS

Luke Jones, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:00

Oh, welcome home we are wn S T A and 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive it is a busy busy week ran or not just Kentucky Derby week for those of us who love the ponies and you’ll hear some horse racing conversation about the past present and future of the Preakness. We did that up in green mount bowl and green mount station last week with our friends at the Maryland lottery at PacMan scratch offs to give away we’ll give those wait two weeks at fade Lee’s we were at fadeless on Friday as well chatting with through vignarajah also talking about all of last week’s dramas like Jackson holiday going down. We got bigger problems with the Yankees in town this week. But certainly all eyes. In the sports world were really on Detroit were massive crowds. My dude Mike Rosenfeld, our chief digital officer was amongst them. So I’m looking forward to a little bit of feedback on that. But for the seriousness of all of it, Luke was torn between baseball, football, football, baseball draft baseball, bullpen baseball, football, but Eric Koston was pretty focused over the weekend, the Ravens were focused, and I think we could scratch our heads about parts of it. Other parts sort of fell into what we predicted. And after three months of doing all this predicting from Mobile, Alabama, through combines and pro days and rumors and needs and free agency, they have a draft class, Luke Jones, do they not?

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Luke Jones  01:34

They have a draft class. And I think it’s highly regarded overall, which is typically the case with the ravens, I think you go back and find even some draft classes that weren’t so good. A couple years later, typically, the initial reaction is because the Ravens have this reputation that people feel good about it. So nine man draft class, I think you look at it in terms of value, as it pertains to what the consensus rankings were out there when you talk about all the different pundits, and there are people that actually collect data based on all the rankings and all the mock drafts and all of that, I think you look at it through that lens, the Ravens appear to get good value. And I think they addressed most of their needs, I suspect we’re going to continue to talk a lot about the offensive line, which, by the way, was probably always going to be the case anyway, when you’re picking 30th and not fifth. But I think you look at this draft overall, nine picks, you know, what wasn’t as though they had a ton of picks early. But they did have the 2/4 round picks, they pick to players in the seventh round for the first time in over a decade. Imagine that.

Nestor J. Aparicio  02:48

So quarterback a late quarterback to Yeah, yeah,

Luke Jones  02:52

I mean, there’s there’s always I mean, there’s always some level of intrigue when you draft a quarterback, it’s not quite the same when you have an MVP quarterback who you know, is not going anywhere anytime soon. But they did do that. And I think there are certainly some interesting names that we will be talking about, we will be monitoring. And I think while you know, you look at the top of this draft list, Nate Wiggins, as you and I already talked about, he’s going to play, you know, is he going to start week one in the base defense? Probably not, but he’s going to be involved. I think for me, though, the most pivotal pick is probably going to be their second round pick Roger Rosengarten out of Washington. I said, going into this draft, and I’ll still say it, even though I’m uneasy saying it about a late second round pick, I felt they needed to come away with one plug and play starter on their offensive line and Rosengarten see young the candidate for that it’s certainly not the seventh round center. Right. So because Tyler Lindenbaum, they have I mean, that’s the one spot you feel great about. So to me, Rosengarten is he’s going to be the key to the short term success of this draft. But obviously, over the long haul, we’ll see how many of these nine players truly become factors. A few of them maybe become starters. You know, that’s really the gauge on how you evaluate a draft, but we’re not going to know that for a couple more years. So in the meantime, we’ll we go off of what the pre draft profile and perception was. And in that light, I think most would say the Ravens did a pretty good job in terms of maximizing the value of their pics.

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:30

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Well, we could sit here and nitpick this and they put them all on the lounge now and I don’t go out and eat ice cream with the scouts. We will not be Costas in tonight even though I’m wearing my cost it’s insured, having you know draft recap the way we used to do this. I would say the biggest story that you and I should be talking about in the beginning isn’t who they took in the fourth round or what who projects out to be the backup quarterback. It’s more of the offensive line and what wasn’t done and what wasn’t it dressed after all of our oxygen and to your point, this young man they’ve drafted that right tackle we’ll see. But we’ve come a long way from the veteran offensive line, and the neophyte quarterback to now the quarterbacks making $50 million into two time MVP. But let’s go do that with players younger than him on the offensive line. Theoretically. Theoretically, all of them I guess, other than Ronnie Stanley would be less accomplished than he is. This is a it’s a transition time for them. And I don’t I’m not going to be grudge them not signing Zeidler or Moses or whatever they could have done the veteran, FYI, the offensive line, and they still might go out and wind up with somebody else’s cap casualty. I don’t know, right, that there’s still two more opportunities for that and training camp as well, for other organizations to throw a Kevin Zeitler out the side door for them. And then would they be cap issues and all of that, but this was their, you know, sort of opportunity to address that they did in the way that they did, which leads a lot of people to think, well, maybe they like Vorhees. Maybe they’d like Cleveland more than let’s say Luke and Nestor do.

Luke Jones  06:20

Yeah, well, it’s TBD. Right? I mean, everyone loves their pics, everyone loves their young guys on the roster until they have to play and then you either continue to love them, or you say, Oh, this guy can’t do the job. I mean, that’s that’s just the nature of this. I mean, I as I was getting ready to hop on the Zoom to talk to you, I was reminded of the quote that Eric Acosta it’s right in there draft guide for 2024. The draft is the lifeblood of this organ aid organization, we take it very seriously. We try to make it a science we really do. But in the end, it’s probably more of an art than a science. And I think that epitomise is the draft so well, because you can evaluate, you can collect as much data as you want, you can have the scouts go and meet with the player, talked to his family, talk to his friends, talk to his coaches, talk to his high school coaches, all of that, and you’re still working off of, you know, as complete a picture as you try to make it but not a complete picture in terms of the human element and not a complete picture in terms of okay, what a player doesn’t college does not automatically translate to the next level. And, and that’s not a raven thing. That’s all 32 teams, the Ravens have navigated that challenge, far better than most teams in the NFL for the last quarter century. It’s why they’ve been as successful as they’ve been, but there’s still a lot of unknown. So again, bringing it back to specifically the offensive line, it was always going to be very challenging, even if there was a guy at 30. And we talked about this after they picked Nate Wiggins that the board was pretty much pick clean in terms of guys that really were appropriate options at number 30. Based on the consensus, right, we know that there’s a chance that some team just drafted a Hall of Fame guard and the third round that the Ravens could have picked, right, the other 31 teams could have picked, we just know that that’s how it works. So So you know, you can’t view it through that lens. You’re just viewing it through the lens of how all these players are perceived today. And it was always going to be challenging at 30, let alone if there was no one there at 30. And then you’re talking about picking Rosengarten at 62. Now, I think that was good value. I think he has as good a chance as you can really view anyone as a late second round pick having a chance to start. That doesn’t mean that I’m put writing his name and pen as the starting right tackle because I think we need to see. Right. I think when you look at how he profiled at Washington, I do think he profiles well, for what Todd Monken and the Ravens want in their offense now which more athletic offensive lineman probably less of a less of a focus on physicality, and more on footwork and athleticism. And wanting to have five man protections and not happen to keep Patrick record as a six man in protection that way you can have another guy out in route. That’s what they’re looking for. Now, does that mean they’re going to have that hammer down perfectly come week one, or even week nine? That’s the big question, because you’re talking about a lot of new parts with this. And to your point, and I agree with you, I think there’s still a good chance that there’s a veteran that out there that will be on this offensive line who’s not on the roster right now. I still, if I had to bet $1 on that one way or the other. I would bet Yes. On that right now just based on where they are. But your point is well taken. And I think where the Ravens stand right now they say you know what? Short of it being a first round guy which we’ve already been over that we think we suspect To anyone we could have drafted in, say, the third round, fourth round, fifth round, at least for right now, probably wasn’t going to be better than then Cleveland or Andrew Vorhees or the guy that just brought in from Houston, who’s got some versatility Josh Jones, you know, who is kind of like this year’s John Simpson, for lack of a better description? Well, that wouldn’t

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:21

that wouldn’t be poor. If that worked out that yeah, they can find to John Simpsons to play here. They’re probably in better shape than maybe they even would have been paying a Zeidler in a Moses to think, yeah, they’re gonna be banged up or injured, or we’re getting to that point where we’re aging out of these guys. And to your point, you know, there were a lot of guys drafted into Greg Roman and brought through Greg Roman and this quickly became Todd Monken. That change of personnel and age and energy, in addition to now having a big fat back that I have always sort of worshipped and wanted around here. That was before he had his Houston Oiler Jersey as well. But this is a different thing was a flowers makes things different. I think in their passing game, certainly different than Nobel, Odell Beckham did last year. So, you know, they’re transitioning, and they’re picking the guys they want. I mean, to your point, my point, like, they’ve been doing this since the beginning of time, and they at least go into this with some really clear and concise vision of what they’re trying to do when they draft a kid from Washington. And I don’t want to say proclaim Him the starter, but sort of opened the door to the 62nd pick for that.

Luke Jones  11:36

Yeah, I mean, you kind of hope and you kind of say he better be the starter because and that’s putting a lot of pressure on the kid. Let’s be clear, I think this I think Rosen gardens a good pick. Does that mean, I think he’s going to be ready to start week one or week eight, we’re gonna have to see because again, that’s typically when you look especially how offensive line playing play has changed, as dramatically has it as it has in the NFL. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule. But you get beyond the first 15 or 20 picks. It’s really ambitious to take a lineman after the top 15 or 20. And think that they’re going to play right away. Now, that doesn’t mean you won’t find a guy that. I mean, it’s not like Marshall Jada, was Marshall yonder, right away, and now he had injuries and, but but the point is, it takes guys time to develop. And, you know, that’s where you look at this and say, how quickly can Rosengarten develop? So, you know, of all their moves. Let me be clear, and we’ve mentioned John Simpson. I’m not concerned about replacing John Simpson, John Simpson, if we’re calling it what it was, he was a below average starter at left guard. I mean, he was fine. He was serviceable. He posted up every week, and that’s important. But you weren’t getting Pro Bowl caliber play or even above average play from him. So I think that position in isolation, I’m not as concerned about that. However, Kevin Zeitler is a pro bowl caliber right guard and finally got a Pro Bowl recognition. I get it. He’s older. I get it. You didn’t necessarily want to make a long term commitment there or even a one year commitment, which is what he ended up getting from Detroit, man. I mean, maybe that would have been on the table for the Ravens. Maybe there were some hurt feelings there. Who knows? In the case of Morgan, Moses that that to me right now of all the moves. That right now is the one where I take pause a little bit and say you’re now looking at either a second round rookie or Daniel fall Leigh Leigh, who I just I don’t think physically fits what they want to do. He’s more of the mall and Greg Roman, big physical tough right tackle. I don’t know if he has the feet to do what the Ravens want to do with their O line at this point. Or Patrick mCherry, who I love is my sixth offensive lineman who can play all five spots in a pinch if someone goes down. I don’t love Patrick McHenry being penciled in as the starter. So that’s the one because keep in mind Moses was under contract, they traded him. He didn’t leave as a free agent. They traded him. That’s the one move right now where I look at this and I see how free agency and I see how the draft played out where I say maybe they got a little too cute there. Maybe they should have helped hold on held on to him. They still could have drafted rose and garden and guess what if Rosengarten look great during the preseason and look like he was their best option. You probably could have traded Morgan Moses and probably gotten similar compensation because it’s not as though they got this huge haul for him. That was basically a trade to be made that you’re either going to trade them or you’re probably going to release them right so you know, that’s the one move of all the guys they let go on the O line or I say you know, probably wouldn’t be bad to have him on the roster still. You know he be right tackle even frozen gardens ready to take over On week seven, then great, great. That’s that’s not that’s not a big problem there. Moses was making five and a half million dollars in this day and age with where the salary cap is. That’s not extraordinary money for a starting offensive lineman, I mean, it just isn’t not talking about 20 million like Ronnie Stanley was carrying before they did the pay cuts. So, you know, that’s the one move that for me, I’m looking at and saying, Hmm, I hope that’s not the move that ends up biting them a little bit. And maybe Rosengarten will be fine. Maybe he’s gonna be ready week one, maybe he’s gonna be a really solid rock solid capable starter as a rookie, which kudos to him if he is, and I still think he’s gonna be a good player in the big picture sense. But, you know, that’s the one move right now. And, you know, we’ll see how this plays out. Now, to your point. There could be some offensive lineman, probably not necessarily now, because the post June 1 thing quite isn’t quite as dramatic as it used to be because you can, you know, like Odell Beckham was a post June 1 release, you know, so they didn’t have to wait to June 1, you just designate them as that. So you know, maybe not now, but maybe during training camp, maybe like when they signed Jadeveon. Clowney, maybe some offensive lineman gets cut, or maybe there’s a trade to be made there where you swap late round picks or something like that, and, and you can bring someone in so not panicking over this. But I’d be disingenuous, if I said that I looked at this the state of the offensive line right now, and I had a high degree of confidence with where it is, but we’re gonna see how it plays out.

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Nestor J. Aparicio  16:35

I think that’s a couple of months waiting on the O line to improve and then you wake up Monday, and you’re like, okay, they did something. And it was always they weren’t going to draft three or four, they weren’t going to solve the offensive line. This weekend, they were going to add to it. But I think that we’ve talked there was so much oxygen for it. And this is part and parcel of being a team that’s expected to win 15 Games next year, right? Like, and you’re and the house burning down, but they didn’t run the football, you know, which is now 12 weeks ago, it starts to get to be ancient history, but they can’t do anything and they can’t play for four more months. So this is what we talk about. But we do have a hard time envisioning how this offensive line is going to be a Superbowl offensive line right i I’m having a hard time going through that right now to say, Love the running back quarterback. Got some offensive weapons. Mark Andrews coming back, that’ll make things better. But I’m not looking at this and saying Tyler Linder bombs gonna be like the greatest center in the game he might be. But I don’t know that that matters so much as to what else goes on there. And I’m not a believer in Ronnie Stanley and the rest of it. I don’t know how I can be a believer in any of it. I haven’t seen any of it. Right. So showing me and being from Missouri as I am. Or Dundalk in this case. I don’t know it’s gonna be a question mark right on up until they go out and you know, smash people in the mouth and put 380 yards up and opening week and you know, steamroll a team and two and a half hours and win a game 35 to seven or something right like that. That’s what it’s gonna take. Because the question marks we’ve had the last three months and the offensive line for the minute they decided Zeitler Moses, we’re not going there. But we’re keeping Stanley because we kind of have to. I give them a very, very incomplete grade on that.

Luke Jones  18:30

Yeah, and look, I think it’s fair. I think you even look at recent history. Look at post 2019 What did they do to replace Marshall yonder? Kevin Zeitler was that the following year? The point that the point I’m making is they didn’t really do enough and that did hurt them in 2020. following year, Ronnie Stanley coming off with a major injury. What did they do to account for Stanley’s backup plan? They signed Alejandro Villanueva who let’s Let’s call a spade a spade, he stunk. That was not a good backup plan. So there is some recent history of needing to make another move on the O line and not doing it and then it ended up costing them. Let’s be clear, they still made it to the divisional round in 2020. They were in position to be a playoff team until Lamar Jackson got hurt in 2021. So we are not talking about this in terms of this jeopardizing them being a contender, this jeopardizing them having a chance to win the AFC north, we’re not talking about that. But we’re talking through the lens of Super Bowl and winning a championship because that’s all that matters for this team at this point, you know, regular season success and just getting there. Yes, that has to happen. But it’s all about January. That’s why you know, we’ve talked about Derrick Henry, that’s all about what he does in January, he can run for 1400 yards and he’s an if he’s a nonfactor in the divisional round or the AFC Championship then That move was kind of whatever then right I mean, that’s that’s where we are right now. That’s the reality for a team that has been a number one seed and had home field and not gotten the job. I’ve done. So, yeah, when you look at this thing right now, and fully acknowledging they’re more than four months away from playing a game that matters. And they’re even longer than that away from the games that are really, really going to matter. But it’s fair that it’s fair to ask that right now it’s fair to ask if it’s going to be enough because you you nailed you hit the nail on the head. We’re, we’re talking about this in terms of Ronnie Stanley being one of their surest things. I mean, think, let that marinate for a moment. Ronnie Stanley being one of their surest things, you have Linder bombs one and right now Stanley is the second. And we know that that has been anything but a short thing over the last four years, through no fault of his own because of the original injury. But Stanley is so pivotal to this because let’s say they figured out at guard right? Let’s say that Andrew Voorhees can be the left guard. And let’s say that Ben Cleveland is a perfectly capable solid, maybe not as good as Kevin Zeitler. But let’s say close. So let’s say those two positions are okay. Let’s say Rosen Rosen garden is ready and does a solid job as the right tackle. If Ronnie Stanley isn’t healthy and isn’t right, and isn’t playing at a higher level than he did last year, okay, you can do the rotation with Macquarie again. Is that still going to add up to the kind of offensive line that you feel confident getting you to all the way to a Super Bowl? Keeping Lamar Jackson upright and healthy for 17 games? We’ll see. Right now, I would say I’m uneasy, and I think you you said it perfectly. I don’t think that a letter grade is warranted right now. I think it’s still very much an incomplete. I think the letter grade will present itself I think very quickly once the season starts. But right now, it still feels like they’re counting on a lot of projecting to go well here. And they’re very short on known commodities. Other than Tyler Linder. Baum, who look is one of the best three or four centers in football, right? I that they feel great about him, and they should. But beyond that point, I mean, there’s just a lot of unknown here. And I’ll bet right now that a couple of those unknowns will go right. But we’re talking about three or four unknowns that need to fall the right way. That’s a little that’s very ambitious. And that’s why I still, again, give me that give me the dollar to bet for or against adding another veteran that starts or at least is a really serious competitor to start on the O line. And I’m gonna guess we’re going to see that at some point in time between now and say, the end of August that you’re going to see someone else added in there that you know, whether it’s a guard, whether it’s another tackle, you know, whatever it might be, because it just it’s a lot of leaning on young guys. And let’s face it, we’re not talking about first and second round pick type young guys, you know, Rosen guard and being the exception of Ben Cleveland, third round pick, but that was three years ago. Vorhees you know, it’s not like he was going to be a first round pick before he tore his ACL, big Salah you know, go down the list. These are these were later round guys that we’re talking about here. So we’ll see. Again, we’ll see. And that they’ve, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt, especially after some of the late, late summer moves they made last year and even in Vanoise case in the late September when they made that move, but right now, it is tough to look at this offensive line and sit here and just say, Oh, they’re gonna be fine. I think. I think if you’re that dismissive about that concern on the line, or at least the questions on the O line, you’re probably looking at it through a very dark tin of purple in the glasses as you’re looking at the roster.

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:54

Here’s Luke Jones use Baltimore logo. We’re gonna continue with baseball and football conversation a melodious mix as to whether we’re gonna fix the bullpen or fix the offensive line first. Certainly. I know one thing in New York Yankees are in town this week. We got some fix and we need to do on that. We’re gonna recap the draft. We’re gonna have it all out of Baltimore positive if you were at fadeless on Friday, you got the Pac Man scratch off. He also threw vignarajah as well as Alicia and Jamie came on and told me I’m now the master of they’ve retired me I’m no longer eligible to be in the crab races with BJ surhoff who brings ringer crabs every year. We talked about this when you’re female crabs. So I’ve decided to emcee it this year. Don’t like my mouth. It’s gonna be fresher anything and I’m seeing it. It’s the 16th it’s two weeks out come on down to fade these come see us football or excuse me baseball every baseball game on Friday. We’re going to be down there from two winds of five giving away Maryland lottery scratch offs are friends at Liberty pure solutions, making my water clean, very appreciative of Doug and the group doing that. Also Jiffy Lube, multi care if you haven’t got checked out our 25th anniversary documentary video. No one listens. everyone hears, please do go check it out. It’s entertaining to say the least. And if have you contributed in any way been on our road trips involved in our sponsors ever set a low somewhere around town, you’ll be heartened by how it all sort of came together and this weird thing happened the last 32 years here. I am Nestor. We are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking Baltimore positive. Stay with us.

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