Few problems in the NFL are better than having two Pro Bowl left tackles on your roster, but the Baltimore Ravens may still have to deal with it.
Orlando Brown Jr., who starred at left tackle last season after a career spent on the other side of the offensive line, has expressed a desire to be traded so he can remain at the more valuable position, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Per Rapoport, Brown will only play for him a team if it will play him at left tackle. That's consistent with Brown's public statements about the situation, tweeting declarations that he's a left tackle and a desire to live out the dream of his father, former Ravens left tackle Orlando Brown. The elder Brown died in 2011.
I’m a LEFT Tackle.
— Orlando Brown Jr. (@ZEUS__78) January 29, 2021
It’s never been about the money. I’m so appreciative for this organization and all my teammates. I couldn’t thank DeCosta enough, he’s a incredible football mind and one the best men I know. I want to live out the dream my dad had for me. https://t.co/JhHj4PL2mG pic.twitter.com/bbki7zO9Vb
— Orlando Brown Jr. (@ZEUS__78) February 5, 2021
The Ravens are reportedly seeking a major haul if they end up trading Brown, and it's hard to blame them considering their current position.
Ronnie Stanley's injury created this situation
Before Week 8 of last season, Brown was one half of quite possibly the best pair of offensive tackles in the NFL. Brown had been starting on the right side while Ronnie Stanley was a first-team All-Pro as Lamar Jackson's blind-side blocker.
Brown's rise had already been impressive. A near-unanimous All-American and two-time Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year awards, Brown was a star at Oklahoma and clearly had NFL size at 6-foot-8 and 353 pounds. However, a disastrous NFL combine — his 5.85 40-yard dash was the slowest of any player at the combine and he finished last in the bench press, vertical jump, and broad jump among all offensive linemen — tanked Brown's draft value.
Brown fell to the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, where the Ravens scooped him up. Once he was back to playing football and not running in straight lines or lifting weights, he started shining again. Brown was the Ravens' starting right tackle by the end of his rookie year and a Pro Bowler at the end of his second year, a significant part of the NFL's most explosive offense in the 2020 season.
The Ravens obviously wanted to run that back, signing Stanley to a record five-year contract last November. Unfortunately, Stanley went down with a season-ending ankle injury just days later. Rather than find a single replacement for Stanley, the Ravens moved Brown to the left side and tried out rookie Tyre Phillips and veteran D.J. Fluker on the right side.
Brown impressed at left tackle, while the right tackle duo (as well as the rest of the O-line) did not.
Check out this block by Orlando Brown Jr (#78). I had an involuntary, guttural reaction.
Also a great play call. pic.twitter.com/op29XlNJvr
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) November 2, 2020
However, Stanley is now set to return and already getting paid like a left tackle. With only one year left on his rookie contract, staying at left tackle would obviously benefit Brown as he prepares to hit what should be a lucrative free agent market, but that's not happening as long as he's on the same team as Stanley.
What could the Ravens get for Orlando Brown Jr.?
Obviously, the Ravens should not want to trade Brown. If you have two Pro Bowl-level offensive tackles guarding your franchise quarterback, you hold on tight and don't let go.
If Brown is serious and the Ravens decide to accomodate his request, the market should be strong for Brown's talents. The Miami Dolphins got two first-round picks, one second-round pick and two other players in return for Laremy Tunsil (plus wide receiver Kenny Stills, a fourth-rounder and a sixth-rounder), and that was before Tunsil had ever made a Pro Bowl.
Bill O'Brien is no longer around to offer that kind of monster package, but there are plenty of teams out there with a need at left tackle. A first-round pick for Brown feels like a given; it should depend on how much teams go beyond that.
And who knows, maybe one of those will end up being the third overall pick.
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