With the 6th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley. Coming into today, Stanley’s draft stock was really gaining steam as there were rumours that both the Chargers and Ravens had him ranked ahead of Laremy Tunsil, and now, especially following Tunsil’s dubious video on Twitter, that rumour has been confirmed. Tackle is a huge need for the Ravens. Monroe is inconsistent and injury prone and Rick Wagner is coming off a down year. Stanley is an immediate upgrade and is excellent in both run and pass blocking. With Joe Flacco coming back from a torn ACL, he needs to be kept on his feet, and this pick goes a hell of a long way to ensuring that.
Stanley arguably failed to meet expectations this year. Several pass rushers gave him plenty of trouble in pass protection as he looked much more vulnerable this year than last. In addition, he’s having to contend with multiple reports and rumours appearing that question his work ethic both in practice and in games, that he doesn’t put in the effort required to improve his game. There’s no question though that in terms purely of traits and measurables looked for in a starting offensive tackle in the NFL, Stanley has it all. Stanley’s athleticism is great, and immediately stands out from his film. That speed and athletic ability are matched by his long, rangy frame. His long arms and legs are coordinated within a smooth, fluid kick slide that easily keeps up with speed off the edge and to mirror. His ability to work in space both off the edge of the O-line, and as a blocker on the second level are very impressive. However, as mentioned before, he still has his struggles as a pass protector. Smart and versatile rushers can find ways through him too often, leaving him scrambling and holding. If his opponent can get into his chest, Stanley sometimes fails to set his anchor properly, instead going backwards far too easily into the lap of his QB. He is solid looking when he wins early off the snap, but doesn’t show much in the way of being able to recover and reset should he not. After starting all 13 games at right tackle in 2013, Stanley took over from Zach Martin as Notre Dame’s left tackle each of the past two seasons. He strongly considered leaving after his redshirt sophomore season to enter the 2015 draft, but wisely chose to stay at least another year to gain more experience, a good thing given that there is still work to be done to get the most out of his natural physical gifts. Another who could go in the top 10, should the team that grabs him feel confident that he’s going to put in the necessary work required.