Roger Rosengarten

Latest On Ravens’ Offensive Line

The Ravens’ offensive line is set to look very different from the group that started throughout their 14-3 campaign last year. Baltimore was home to the league’s MVP winner and top rushing offense thanks in part due to the contributions of right tackle Morgan Moses (now with the Jets), right guard Kevin Zeitler (now with the Lions), and left guard John Simpson (also with the Jets). With the departures of Moses, Zeitler, and Simpson, the team needed to address three starting positions along the offensive front this offseason.

The Ravens will see a few familiar faces return to start in 2024. Tyler Linderbaum, who has excelled since being drafted in the first round in 2022, will return with two years and a fifth-year option remaining on his contract. He has been the top-billed center as advertised, grading in the top seven players at the position each year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Ronnie Stanley also returns at left tackle. The blindside blocker’s inability to stay on the field continued in 2023, though with marked improvement. Though he made 13 starts last year, he only played 100 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in four of those games, often subbing out to be replaced by swing tackle Patrick Mekari.

Mekari returns, as well, set to reprise his usual role as the sixth man on the offensive line. At this point in his career, the veteran Cal product has started games at every position along the offensive line, often grading out better than the players he replaces. Mekari’s value as an emergency starter at any position makes it hard to dedicate him to a single starting spot, but at the end of the day, Baltimore is going to want to start its five best linemen.

To fill the three starting positions vacated, the Ravens are looking internally at draft picks from the past four years. At right tackle, rookie second-round pick Roger Rosengarten is expected to start at some point this year, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN, a bit more certain of a prediction than we had previously received on the subject. The Washington product will compete for the job with 2022 fourth-round selection Daniel Faalele. Faalele has only seen one start in his two years of play, but thanks to the continuous injuries to veterans like Stanley and Moses, Faalele has gotten a good number of injury-relief snaps with the first-team offense.

The drafted players competing for the two guard spots are 2021 third-round pick Ben Cleveland and last year’s sixth- and seventh-round picks, respectively, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and Andrew Vorhees. Cleveland has made starts in each year since getting drafted (seven starts total) but has failed to give Baltimore enough confidence to hand him the reins to the starting role. His starts have always come at the end of the season, usually when the team’s postseason fate has already been decided. In the team’s past two postseason appearances, Cleveland has failed to make a start despite staring the final games in each season.

Aumavae-Laulu and Vorhees are both interesting cases. Aumavae-Laulu was a finalist for the starting left guard job last offseason as a rookie, eventually losing out to Simpson. After not landing the gig, Aumavae-Laulu essentially served a redshirt season, failing to make an appearance in 2023. Vorhees joined Aumavae-Laulu in his redshirt season, recovering from an ACL tear suffered at the scouting combine last year. The USC product was widely viewed as a first- or second-round pick before the injury, allowing the Ravens to bookmark the seventh-rounder as an eventual candidate to start once healthy. Vorhees was also viewed as a candidate to start at right tackle before the draft, but with Rosengarten joining the locker room, Vorhees can likely focus on the interior.

There is at least one outside candidate vying for a starting role. Baltimore signed Josh Jones in free agency back in March as a potential competitor for a starting guard role. Jones has plenty of starting experience over his time with the Cardinals and Texans, starting 24 of 60 game appearances at both guard and tackle. Even if he can’t beat out Cleveland, Aumavae-Laulu, or Vorhees for a starting gig, he could join Mekari as one of two extremely versatile backups.

In the end, there is a lot to look forward to in offseason position battles. Linderbaum and Stanley seem fixed at their center and left tackle starting spots, respectively. Rosengarten should start at right tackle eventually, and if he’s not ready to start Week 1, Mekari, Faalele, Jones, or even Vorhees could man the spot in the meantime. The guard spots are mostly blind right now as the Ravens wait to see who develops into the roles best out of Cleveland, Aumavae-Laulu, Vorhees, and Jones. Expect it to be some combination of two of those four. And even if they fail to earn starting jobs, Mekari and Jones stand to represent two of the stronger backup options in the league and could fill in if any of the new starters falter early.

Regardless of who ends up where, the line is guaranteed to look extremely different in 2024. It will be up to offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, new assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton, and new run game coordinator Travis Switzer to make sure the line is as productive as last year’s unit. Having Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry in the backfield should do wonders in helping towards achieving that goal, as well.

49ers Eyed T Roger Rosengarten In Second Round?

The 49ers appear all but set to go into a second season with Colton McKivitz as their starting right tackle. The team has signed recent Titans stopgap RT Chris Hubbard, but no clear threat to McKivitz appears on the team’s roster.

That could certainly have changed, in the view of several, had the Ravens not addressed their tackle need in Round 2. Forty-two picks after Pittsburgh selected Troy Fautanu, Baltimore chose the Washington Huskies’ other tackle starter, Roger Rosengarten. In the view of many around the league, the 49ers were preparing to draft Rosengarten with their No. 63 overall selection, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes.

Playing opposite Fautanu for last season’s Division I-FBS runner-up, Rosengarten graded as the No. 62 overall player in the view of ESPN’s Scouts Inc. That certainly makes his No. 62 landing spot rather interesting. The Ravens having traded away two-year right tackle starter Morgan Moses made them a clear candidate to target this position in the early rounds. The 49ers have a short-term option in McKivitz, but it appears they were strongly considering bringing in a higher-upside option in Round 2.

San Francisco ended up with Florida State cornerback Renardo Green in the second round, trading down one spot (via the Chiefs) after Rosengarten went off the board. The team will hope Green can fill its multiyear need in the slot. Green also joins a 49ers team with its top two corners — Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir — going into contract years. For the time being, the defending NFC champions have viable pieces at corner and right tackle. But McKivitz’s first year replacing Mike McGlinchey produced some hiccups.

Pro Football Focus charged Trent Williams with allowing zero sacks last season; the advanced metrics website tagged McKivitz with nine allowed. PFF ranked McKivitz, who previously operated as a swingman during the latter part of McGlinchey’s five-year starter run, 47th at the position last season. The 49ers still extended their current RT, authorizing a one-year, $5.85MM bump early this offseason. The deal, however, does not guarantee McKivitz anything beyond 2024.

San Francisco is operating with a Williams-led line that features four modest contracts around that $23MM-per-year deal. McKivitz, 27, is signed through the 2025 season. With Williams going into his age-36 season, tackle looms as a key 49ers need beyond 2024.

Rosengarten worked as Washington’s right tackle for the past two seasons. That role carried additional importance due to Michael Penix Jr., a transfer pickup in 2022, being left-handed. The eventual second-rounder earned back-to-back Pac-12 honorable mentions for his performance in the role. The Ravens, who memorably traded Orlando Brown Jr. after using him as a multiyear RT, will see if he can become a long-term answer after Moses served as a bridge. The 49ers appear prepared to use 2024 to further gauge McKivitz’s prospects of filling this post long term.

Ravens Notes: Rosengarten, Leary, Wiggins

Offensive line was seen as an area of need for the Ravens entering the draft. Baltimore lost starting guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson in free agency, and the team traded away right tackle Morgan Moses.

The team elected against adding an O-lineman in the first round, selecting cornerback Nate Wiggins instead. In the second round, however, the Ravens added Washington tackle Roger Rosengarten. He was one of several highly-regarded blockers in the 2024 class, though it did not come as a surprise he was still on the board following Day 1. Rosengarten could nevertheless see immediate playing time as a rookie.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after the draft Rosengarten – who did not allow a sack over the past two seasons – will be “in the mix” for the starting right tackle spot this offseason. The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes he could be the favorite for the position (subscription required). Baltimore has incumbents Patrick Mekari and Daniel Faalele as well as free agent signing Josh Jones in place as competition. After protecting southpaw Michael Penix Jr.‘s blindside in college, Rosengarten could also be a candidate to succeed Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley down the road.

Here are some other notes out of Baltimore:

  • The Ravens were among the teams which drafted a depth quarterback on Day 3, selecting Devin Leary in the sixth round. The NC State transfer did not help his stock during his single season at Kentucky, and nine other passers were drafted ahead of him. Leary will compete for the third-string spot in Baltimore; after losing Tyler Huntley in free agency, Harbaugh said (via Zrebiec) that journeyman Josh Johnson is the team’s Lamar Jackson backup. Leary’s primary competitor will be Malik Cunningham, who faces the possibility of transitioning to receiver with the Ravens. Baltimore signed Emory Jones as a UDFA yesterday, giving the team five QBs at the moment.
  • Offensive lineman (and starting guard candidate) Andrew Vorhees missed his rookie season as he recovered from an ACL tear. The 2023 seventh-rounder returned to the practice field this weekend, though, with Harbaugh noting he is in a good spot regarding his recovery (h/t ESPN’s Jamison Hensley). Fifth-round rookie running back Rasheen Ali, meanwhile, will participate in the team’s rookie minicamp on a limited basis. Harbaugh said (via Zrebiec) Ali is expected to be healthy by training camp as he rehabs a torn bicep suffered at the Senior Bowl.
  • Wiggins is among the Ravens rookies who have already signed their initial NFL contracts. That $12.82MM deal includes a signing bonus of $6.14MM, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 notes. Baltimore turned down eight trade offers for the No. 30 pick, electing to retain it and select Wiggins. The Clemson product will no doubt be counted on heavily in his rookie season and beyond.

Ravens Sign First-Round CB Nate Wiggins

With the draft complete, teams are now able to turn their attention to adding UDFAs and inking their selected prospects to their rookie deals. The Ravens have moved quickly on the latter front.

Baltimore has signed five of nine draft picks from this weekend, per a team announcement. That list includes cornerback Nate Wiggins, who was selected with the No. 30 pick. Wiggins was considered a round one lock, and it came as something of a surprise when he was still on the board at the Ravens’ slot. Based on his draft spot, Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap projects a $12.8MM deal over four years (with the potential of a fifth-year option in 2028)

Two corners – Quinyon Mitchell and Terrion Arnold – were added 22nd and 24th overall, respectively. Both members of that pair were expected to come off the board before all others at the position, although they (like every other player on the defensive side of the ball) had to wait quite some time to be selected. Wiggins, like Mitchell and Arnold, has considerable potential based on his college production.

The Clemson alum totaled three interceptions and 21 pass deflections during his three-year tenure at the school. Wiggins served as a starter over the 2022 and ’23 campaigns, and he was a first-team All-ACC selection this past season. The 6-2, 175-pounder faces questions based on his playing weight at the pro level, but his fluidity and length should allow him to carve out a role early on.

Baltimore has Marlon Humphrey in place as a cornerback starter, and Brandon Stephens had a surprisingly productive campaign opposite him in 2023. The latter is a pending free agent, so Wiggins could take on a first-team role if he were to depart next offseason. Even before that, Wiggins should be able to find playing time on special teams while rotating in the Ravens’ secondary during his rookie campaign.

The team also announced on Thursday that second-round offensive tackle Roger Rosengarten, fourth-round cornerback T.J. Tampa, and their seventh-rounder additions (center Nick Samac and safety Sanoussi Kane) have inked their respective rookie deals. That leaves Adisa IsaacDevontez Walker, Rasheen Ali and Devin Leary as the prospects yet to put pen to paper.