Baltimore Ravens upgrade interior offensive line

A quarter of the way through the 2020 season and we have a brand new 2021 NFL Draft mock. In it, the Baltimore Ravens get themselves a brand new center.

Draft order courtesy of nfl.com, with picks 31 and 32 matched as a Super Bowl matchup.

1. New York Jets: Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

The Jets might not win a football game in 2020. Thankfully, this lands them the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and the “winners” of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. Sam Darnold is far from the problem in New York, but you can’t pass up a prospect like Lawrence. The Jets will auction off Darnold to the highest bidder and take the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck with the top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

2. Miami Dolphins (via Houston Texans): Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon

The Dolphins just drafted an offensive tackle in the form of Austin Jackson during the 2020 NFL Draft, but the team cannot pass up the potential that is Penei Sewell. Sewell is seemingly flawless and a future All-Pro at the position. Adding Sewell would allow Miami to kick Jackson to the right side permanently and give the offensive line bookend tackles.

3. New York Giants: Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

The Giants could easily grab a quarterback here with the underwhelming play of Daniel Jones. Instead, they’ll get a top-flight wide receiver in Ja’Marr Chase and give Jones the opportunity to throw to a legit X-receiver. Chase would have been WR1 in the 2020 NFL Draft had been eligible. Chase is the do-it-all kind of guy quarterbacks dream of throwing to.

4. Atlanta Falcons: Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL.)

Despite investments to improve its pass rush, the Falcons simply can’t get it right. Gregory Rousseau could finally be the answer the franchise has been looking for off the edge. Rousseau is long and athletic and can even kick inside to give the defensive front more versatility. Rousseau will finally make Atlanta’s pass rush a respectable one.

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49ers Issues lie With the Interior Offensive Line and Nowhere Else

No, the 49ers should not go after Jadeveon Clowney.

No, the 49ers should not go after Antonio Brown.

All of these scenarios have been brought up as potential solutions to the 49ers’ “issues” at edge rusher and wide receiver.

It is quite hysterical to see considering the fact that there are no issues at edge rusher and wide receiver. Just because there isn’t more star studded names at those positions does not mean there are “issues.” 

The real issues for the 49ers lie with the interior offensive line and nowhere else.

All of this talk that the 49ers need to squeeze the last bit of their remaining salary cap space for Clowney, Brown or whoever is ludicrous. 

Why shell out money for one player with character concerns and one player with motor concerns? It makes no sense, unless you are talking about adding these players in your Madden video game franchise. They do not need to sign, especially trade for a player at those respective positions.

Putting all concerted efforts towards improving the interior offensive line is the real crux of the matter. 

Center Weston Richburg will not be returning until mid-season, which already puts the 49ers’ offensive line at less than full strength. And as of now, it is not looking good for backup center Ben Garland to play in Week 1 against the Cardinals. Even if he did practice this week, it would be risky considering he missed essentially all of training camp. Garland might still need another week of practice to be fully fit to handle starting center duties.

That means Daniel Brunskill will be forced to start at center, and as good as he was last season at swinging all over the offensive line, he isn’t adequate at center at all. Brunskill is a turnover waiting to happen at center, along with his shaky blocking once he snaps the ball. 

The issues do not stop there for the 49ers. 

By starting Brunskill at center, it likely means Tom Compton will get the start at right guard, which is just begging the Cardinals to sack Jimmy Garoppolo at least five times. Compton has been that bad at right guard. 

Rookie Colton McKivitz is the better option, but still isn’t enough to say the interior offensive line will be solidified. 

Now the 49ers freed up some cap space by converting $9.5 million of Dee Ford’s base salary into a signing bonus. This could mean that there is a transaction waiting in the wings for the 49ers. Perhaps a trade for center Alex Mack of the Falcons? Or perhaps it could be to take care of Trent Williams now?

There is a lot to play with here for the 49ers, but it is clear that they have a plan in mind do with the extra cap space. And no, I doubt it is to sign Clowney, who I would be surprised if he even considered the 49ers since he would surely want a team where he could start to

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