The Baltimore Ravens were devoid of talent at the tackle position in 2021 after the season-ending injury to Ronnie Stanley. It certainly wasn’t their only injury, but it made things for Lamar Jackson and the rushing attack much more difficult. Alejandro Villanueva was a good pro in Pittsburgh, but at 33 years old, he’s over the hill. Now, the Ravens should target Trent Brown during the 2022 free agency cycle.
2022 NFL Free Agency: Why Trent Brown is a fit for the Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens had a turbulent 2021. They suffered more injuries than I could count on three sets of fingers and toes. They lost their top two running backs, their left tackle, both top cornerbacks, and at times, their MVP-winning quarterback. Still, they finished the season 8-9, and their future looks bright.
But they need to address their offensive line, particularly their right tackle spot. Orlando Brown Jr. forced the Ravens to trade him so he could play left tackle. Trent Brown will not be doing the same. After disappointing on the blindside, the 380-pound behemoth is now a stalwart at right tackle.
The Ravens’ rushing attack must improve, and they desperately need to help Jackson feel comfortable in the pocket again. There was a hint of skittishness in his game last year, leading to uncharacteristic mental errors.
Brown fits the Ravens like Under Armour dry-weather gear on a swole mannequin
It never looked like that on me, but I digress. Seeing Brown in his stance beside fellow professional offensive linemen reminds me of the picture of Charles Barkley, Dwayne Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal. It’s difficult to understand how massive Shaq is until you see him towering over other large humans. That is Trent Brown.
He fits Baltimore’s style like a glove. They’re a mostly downhill-blocking scheme that gives defenses fits because they have talented backs (when healthy) and quite possibly the most dynamic runner in the NFL at QB.
Brown is a people-mover. He’d fit right in alongside Kevin Zeitler and would help Baltimore field an outstanding center-to-right tackle combination. With Stanley on the left side, it makes for four strong offensive linemen. Hopefully, Ben Cleveland can win the left guard job heading into 2022.
There are few things more terrifying than a full-speed Brown in the open field. It’s the equivalent of a tiny home barreling toward you. Now imagine Jackson following him.
But Brown is also an excellent pass protector. In 252 pass-blocking snaps in 2021, he allowed just 1 sack and only 9 total pressures. His width helps him, but his agility in the passing game is underrated. He possesses incredibly short arms and small hands for the position, but that doesn’t seem to hurt him.
For example, defenders struggle to go through Brown because he effortlessly anchors. Then, if a rusher tries going around him, he has the width and agility to run them right up the arc and out of harm’s way.
The contract must be incentive-based
Brown is an outstanding player, but he’s oft-injured. If we’ve learned anything from years of watching football, it is that hurt guys almost always remain hurt guys. Very few miss three or four games for their first few seasons in the NFL, then play full campaigns after hitting 29 years old.
But given that Brown hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet, the Ravens could win out on his bid by guaranteeing money up front and making future seasons incentive-heavy. There’s no guaranteeing he would go for that, but that would make the most sense with Jackson’s contract extension looming.
Given relatively decent injury luck, the Ravens should have a playoff-caliber team in 2022. If Brown can be healthy for that run, missing a few games in the regular season won’t matter nearly as much.