Since the end of the 2021 season, Orlando Brown Jr. has seen his future with the Baltimore Ravens take a turn. After an injury sidelined Ravens left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, for the remainder of the year during their Week 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Brown was asked to swing from right to left tackle. He started the remaining 11 games of the Ravens season at left tackle and earned his second Pro Bowl nod in as many years.
Shortly after the Ravens Divisional Round loss to the Buffalo Bills, Brown sent out a somewhat cryptic tweet. The tweet read “I’m a LEFT tackle” likely in regards to where Brown would like to spend the rest of his NFL career. Obviously, with Stanley returning to the Ravens at full strength in 2021, the Ravens cannot give Brown the opportunity he desires. Brown started 40 straight games at left tackle for the Oklahoma Sooners in college before being drafted by the Ravens in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The most probable scenario for the Ravens and Brown is that Brown will be moved close to or at the draft. General manager Eric DeCosta has voiced that he wants to “do what’s best for Orlando Brown” and trade could be beneficial to both parties. The writing is now on the wall with the Ravens bringing in former Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva for testing and there is a good chance Brown will be with a new team in the following weeks. With a trade seemingly in sight and the draft just over a week away, this is a list of teams that could make a draft-day move for the Ravens right tackle.
Draft Day Trade Partners for Orlando Brown Jr.
First thing’s first, the tackle class in 2021 is deep. There is even a possibility of seven or more tackles being selected in the first round. However, it’s easy to remember that the players set to be selected are just prospects. There is no guarantee they live up to their draft position or even become consistent starters at the NFL level. When NFL general managers look at a player like Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, or Christian Darrisaw, they are hoping to find a tackle like Brown.
Note: This article is not meant to speculate on the value of one pick versus the other but rather to find team’s that could be a suitor for Brown and a trade partner for DeCosta and the Ravens
Los Angeles Chargers, 13th Overall – Probability: LIKELY
The Chargers were one of the first teams to be recognized as logical trade partners for Brown. Over the past two seasons, Tom Telesco has made an effort to upgrade his offensive line through free agency and given Bryan Bulaga, Corey Linsley, and Matt Feiler each a contract with a cap hit of over $7 million per year. The three offensive linemen have likely fortified the right side of the Chargers line in front of Justin Herbert but the left side is still a weakness. Third-year player Trey Pipkins is currently in line to start at left tackle for Los Angeles with just 822 snaps of NFL experience. He is currently surrendering one sack per 91.3 snaps.
If the Chargers want to complete their quest for building a top-level offensive line, adding a quality left tackle like Orlando Brown Jr. could be the last step. While the Chargers may have the chance to find their franchise left tackle with the 13th overall pick, there is a chance that the top-two tackles will be off the board when they select. Brown’s floor is significantly higher than any untested NFL tackle and he is still two weeks away from turning 25 years old. The only thing stopping a potential trade between Los Angeles and Baltimore is Brown’s need for a new contract in 2022. As mentioned, Telesco has already invested a lot of money in the offensive line but of the three big signees, only Linsley’s contract extends past 2023.
Los Angeles seems like an ideal landing spot for Brown but landing him is likely more a matter of properly allocating money as opposed to filling a need. If Telesco deems left tackle a priority, he and DeCosta could make a very beneficial deal to both teams.
Minnesota Vikings, 14th Overall – Probability: HIGHLY LIKELY
Due to the way the draft board stacks up, there is a good chance that the Vikings will not remain seated at 14th-overall. Both of the New England Patriots and Washington Football Team are in need of a new quarterback and will likely have to jump up to make sure they get their guy. Minnesota on the other hand has a lot of holes to fill but is somewhere in between a rebuilding team and a contender. Therefore, their best use of their highest draft pick is likely turning it into more assets. By trading back, the Vikings will acquire more draft capital for later and can still use what they already have to continue to add to the team.
Rick Spielman is a historically successful general manager in the draft and the combination of adding an elite player that helps you win now and additional draft picks will help the Vikings in the present and the future. Similar to the Chargers, the Vikings have answers on the right side of their line but have a lot of big questions on the left side. Riley Reiff, who started 58 of the Vikings last 64 games at left tackle, joined the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency and Orlando Brown Jr. is an ideal replacement and potential upgrade for him. Minnesota’s offensive line is one piece away from being one of the best young offensive lines in the NFL and Brown could be that final piece.
Indianapolis Colts, 21st Overall – Probability: UNLIKELY
Since the mid-2010s, the Colts have steadily put together one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. Indianapolis finished in the top-10 in both scoring offense and scoring defense in 2018 and 2020 despite a rotating cast at quarterback. Frank Reich’s team has had one of the strongest offensive lines in football over his first three seasons as head coach but will be without their long-time leader Anthony Castonzo in 2021. Castonzo started 11 or more games at left tackle each of the past 10 years in Indianapolis before announcing his retirement in 2021. The Colts added Sam Tevi in free agency but he was likely an insurance plan for if the Colts cannot find a franchise-left tackle.
Adding Brown to the Colts offensive line would give Indianapolis four Pro Bowl-caliber lineman in 2021. The Colts have finished in the top-10 in sacks allowed (including surrendering the fewest in 2018) while Brown has surrendered just six on 2,893 consecutive snaps since 2018. DeCosta and Colts general manager Chris Ballard could easily work out a deal for Brown that included the 21st-overall pick. However, Ballard would likely have to sweeten the return for Baltimore and might be treading lightly due to already moving two picks this off-season to acquire Carson Wentz. Moving a lot of draft capital is always risky in the NFL but if the Colts believe Brown could be an important piece in making a run to a Super Bowl, Ballard may have to pull the trigger.
Kansas City Chiefs, 31st Overall – Probability: HIGHLY UNLIKELY
This is a funny one. Following the Super Bowl, a lot of questions began to rise about the Chiefs depth on the offensive line. Without either Mitchell Schwartz or Eric Fisher, Patrick Mahomes was pressured on 22 of his 52 passing plays in the game. The two tackles were both released following the conclusion of the season and the Chiefs offensive line has only made significant additions to the interior this off-season. Mike Remmers was one of the more underrated right tackles in the NFL last season but the Chiefs are still thin behind him and at left tackle.
While Andy Reid’s offense could use a young left tackle like Brown, the likelihood of the Ravens giving up a player of Brown’s quality to a team that has recently been their “Kryptonite” is very low. Baltimore did not register a sack in their meeting with the Chiefs Week 3 of 2020. For the Ravens to make this deal, they would likely need a huge return. Jamison Hesnley previously wrote “the Ravens won’t deal (Brown) for anything less than a first-round pick” and the 31st-overall pick would almost certainly fall well short of the value the Ravens hope to recoup for Brown.
The Value of a Franchise Left Tackle: Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown is a top-end tackle in the NFL and will be dealt for equivalent value. It was reported early in the off-season that six teams were interested in Brown and an early run on tackles could force the hand of a team who saw their favorite prospect selected in front of them. He may not yield as much as Laremy Tunsil did when he was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Houston Texans, but expect the Ravens to receive a mid-first-round pick and possibly another Day 2 or early Day 3 pick.
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