By: Rob Michels
The Ravens made a smart move bring in veteran offensive tackle and former number one overall pick Jake Long. Heading into training camp the Ravens were paper thin on depth at the tackle position after releasing Eugene Monroe. Long can come in and instantly be the teams swing tackle behind starters Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst. He will battle James Hurst in camp but shouldn't have trouble if healthy (big if) to win that competition.
Long, 31, has a pretty ugly injury history (multiple torn ACLs) and isn't the same player he once was for the Miami Dolphins. He was a backup for the Atlanta Falcons last year, where he saw action in just four games. This shouldn't concern Ravens fans because the front office didn't bring Long in to be a starter or be the left tackle of the future. He's hear to help groom this year's first-round pick Stanley and also help Wagner on the right side. Each team that Long has played for has given him glowing reviews as a leader.
Whenever you can add a player with experience and leadership qualities on a one-year deal it's a plus.Especially, since it was late in free agency and after the release of another solid veteran in Monroe. Hell even if Long gets injured or doesn't make the final cut before Week 1, he was a nice addition to a young offensive line. The biggest impact (hopefully) Long makes this season is helping Stanley work through his rookie season.