Center needs to be the Ravens next big upgrade
The Baltimore Ravens had a very bad offensive line last season, the Ravens running game was nearly nonexistent and the passing game struggled because of it. I talked about how poor the offensive line was nearly all last season and it was a huge topic in my Ravens season review.
The Ravens already re-signed left tackle Eugene Monroe but they need to really upgrade their center position. Gino Gradkowski was very much a weak link for the Ravens in his first season starting. I wrote during the season that the Ravens were missing Matt Birk, that article can be found here.
Gradkowski is small for a center at only 6’3” 300 pounds, and it showed as he was pushed around last season and struggled in both run and pass blocking. Gradkowski also struggle with calling protections and staying on his feet. Quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times last season and was playing injured late in the season because he was hit so many times.
Center is an underrated position and one of the underpaid positions in the NFL. The Ravens showed last season how bad it can be while playing with a bad one and Gradkowski was a bad one. Centers make line calls and adjustments and block up the middle. The Ravens struggled rushing the ball straight up the middle and power running and the center and guard positions are mostly responsible for that.
To me Gradkowski is a backup at best at center, he was a fourth-round pick in 2012 out of Delaware. The best bet for the Ravens right now is to either overpay for the Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack, who currently has the Transition Tag on him or draft one. A good center usually goes in the the second or third round of the draft and does not cost a first round pick. Marcus Martin is projected to be the best center in the 2014 draft.
The Ravens still need to add a right tackle to the offensive line after losing Michael Oher to free agency but I think the center position may be more important.
Where do you think the Ravens should upgrade their center position the draft or free agency?