On Tuesday night, the Baltimore Ravens made a deal in principle with the Jacksonville Jaguars to trade a couple of late round draft picks in the 2014 NFL Draft for left tackle Eugene Monroe.
Monroe was a selected by the Jaguars eighth overall in the 2009 NFL Draft and has held a starting position since his debut in the league five years ago. Reportedly, the Ravens are trading their fourth and fifth round draft picks in 2014 for the offensive lineman.
The Ravens offensive line has been faltering this season and has negatively impacted the team in more ways than one. But without a doubt, the Ravens run game has taken the biggest hit. With Ray Rice and Bernard Piece at running back, the Ravens should be very dependent on their run game, but the rushing yards have been well below-average due to the unreliable blocking from the offensive line.
The hit the team has taken on the run game has caused Joe Flacco to throw the ball more to receivers that he is not comfortable with. In Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills, Flacco had thrown 50 passes and only completed 25. As returning Ravens running backs, Rice and Pierce should be reliable options for the quarterback, but without solid blocking from the offensive line, Flacco is starting to run out of options.
If the Ravens want to improve the offensive line, a change in the lineup is inevitable. Monroe could be the player that they have been looking for. He will likely replace Bryant McKinnie, who was assigned to the starting lineup after having a standout postseason. But McKinnie had been replaced last year during the regular season after a few streaks of faulty performances.
Monroe will bring the type of challenge that the Ravens offensive line needs if they want to improve, and vice versa. Allowing a talented left tackle to play alongside players such as Michael Oher and two-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda, will likely force Monroe to play to his highest potential.
If Monroe proves to be the missing puzzle piece to the Ravens’ offensive line, it is very possible that the team will extend his contract after this season. Monroe is currently in the final year of his rookie contract with the Jaguars.