OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens moved Bradley Bozeman to center to help bolster the offensive line.
This past season, Baltimore had ongoing challenges at that position.
Matt Skura lost his starting job midway through the season because of deficient snaps, and his replacement, Patrick Mekari, also had some struggles.
In the divisional round of the AFC playoffs against the Buffalo Bills, Mekari sailed a snap over Lamar Jackson's head near the end of the third quarter. Jackson suffered a concussion trying to retrieve the ball near his own end zone and Baltimore lost 17-3.
Bozeman, who has played left guard his entire NFL career, should be able to remedy those challenges.
NFL Insider Jason La Canfora listed a player from each NFL team that "could make or break" the season and Bozeman gets the nod in Baltimore.
"All the talk about receivers and that need, and you forget the team didn't have a center who could actually snap the ball regularly a year ago, leading to Lamar Jackson's season-ending concussion in the playoffs," La Canfora wrote. "Bozeman was a strong center at Alabama and if he solidifies the interior of the line as expected, the offense could make big gains."
Bozeman made 31 career starts at center for Alabama and it is a natural transition in the Ravens offense. Baltimore will have an anchor in the middle of an offensive line that has been revamped this offseason.
The starting lineup could be:
- Left Tackle Ronnie Stanley (6-6, 315 pounds)
- Left Guard Ben Cleveland (6-6, 357 pounds)
- Bozeman (6-5, 325 pounds)
- Right Guard Kevin Zeitler (6-4, 315 pounds)
- Right Tackle Alejandro Villanueva (6-9, 320 pounds)
Both Zeitler and Villanueva were signed as free agents. The team selected Cleveland in the third round of this year's draft. Stanley is expected to recover from his season-ending ankle injury.
"The offensive line for the Ravens, the way that they’re coached and the attitude that they have has been something that has been respected in the AFC North ever since I’ve been playing in the NFL," Villanueva said. "I know that [former Steelers offensive line and current Broncos offensive line] Coach [Mike] Munchak had a lot of admiration for the way that they ran zone schemes. So, if anything, I feel a bigger responsibility to make sure that what you’re saying, this new revamped offensive line, is something that can come to fruition.”