With two-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. having been traded to Kansas City less than a week before the 2021 NFL draft, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Seeing fans of both teams claim they “fleeced” the other side speaks to a fair deal, which is how trades are supposed to work. My pet peeve is a tendency to overlook the value of having the known commodity for the upcoming season and focusing only on the future assets.
2. Because of the fifth-year team options, put me down as unenthused about suggestions of trading down with one of Baltimore’s two first-round picks. Yes, you want to take later-round swings, but I’m always reminded of that “historic” 2016 fourth round that proved underwhelming. Don’t sacrifice too much quality for quantity.
3. Signing Alejandro Villanueva or Dennis Kelly makes sense as an insurance policy, veteran depth, and even as a starting option for the beginning of 2021, but such an addition should have no bearing on the need to draft an offensive tackle early. Otherwise, this offense is treading water at best.
4. Teven Jenkins of Oklahoma State would be an ideal pick if he’s available when the Ravens pick 27th. If Eric DeCosta were to trade back into the second round, another interesting right tackle option would be Notre Dame’s Liam Eichenberg despite some believing he’d be better suited at guard.
5. In the same way you felt more confident plugging in the rookie Brown next to Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda in 2018, would trading their right tackle have even been a consideration without signing Kevin Zeitler in March? He’ll be a boost to whoever is manning right tackle.
6. Some downplayed the need for a No. 1 receiver by wanting to prioritize strengthening the interior offensive line this offseason, so dealing Brown puts the Ravens in an interesting spot as many were already clamoring to draft a center or another guard. Does this trade create more urgency there too?
7. This deal sparks discussion about the old argument against trading with a rival. Ultimately, teams should focus on getting the best possible value rather than getting too cute playing “keep away” from an adversary, but Brown helping the Chiefs win another AFC championship would certainly sting.
8. Even as someone seeing substantial 2021 risk with this deal, I do wonder how Brown will fare playing in a pass-heavy offense without a generational rushing quarterback tormenting edge defenders. Brown was Baltimore’s second most valuable offensive player last year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s an elite left tackle.
9. You have to believe the Ravens have a high confidence level in Ronnie Stanley’s health to pull the trigger on this trade, but it’s crazy to think how the 2019 All-Pro selection’s ankle injury days after striking a near-$100 million extension sparked such a sequence of events. Timing is everything.
10. It was fun to see Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, and J.K. Dobbins working out together in Arizona last week. While many exaggerate the impact of such activities in normal times, that carries more weight this spring with the offseason program in such flux.
11. I applaud the NFL relaxing the jersey number rules to spark more #FashionTweets, but I feel for fans with jerseys that may become obsolete. It reminds me of those buying No. 8 Kyle Boller jerseys only to see him switch to No. 7. OK, those were bad investments either way.
12. NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks received ridicule for an outside-the-box idea that the Ravens draft another quarterback and not extend Jackson. I’ve long thought an innovative team with ownership’s full support — busting on a quarterback would bring a down period — should try this, but not with a legitimate MVP in hand.