By Chris Schisler
The Ravens drafted Ronnie Stanley in 2016 with the sixth overall pick. When Ronnie Stanley entered the 2016 NFL Draft, I didn’t quite see a future Pro Bowl offensive tackle. In fact, Stanley is my favorite player that I was ever wrong about as an amateur NFL Draft scout. Let’s take a look at why I was wrong about Stanley, the Ravens franchise left tackle.
The NFL Draft isn’t about the result. That’s going to sound stupid to a lot of people, and I really don’t care. There’s no way to know that a player is going to pan out or flop. It’s both a science and an art, and I get really annoyed when people question the process. Because the process is what the draft is about. More often than not, the process is what gets the players who worked out in a Ravens uniform.
Every year, I watch way too much tape on the NFL Draft process. I don’t get paid to do this, and YouTube videos with prospects snaps are really my big source. I do it for the process. It’s because it connects me to the game, the battery of my life. Football to me is like the yellow sun is for Superman. I’m a battery and that’s the charge.
Let’s talk Ronnie Stanley
I worried about Ronnie Stanley’s frame. I thought his build was a little too lean at the top and I worried about his ability to be the bull, to overpower guys. To be fair, I liked the athleticism and the footwork. It’s not like I saw him as a bad prospect, I was just very wary of him in the first round, especially in the top 10.
If I ever met Stanley, I would like to thank him for teaching me a lesson. Stanley showed me that prospects aren’t finished products. A lot of players, especially offensive tackles, build up an NFL body once they get to the NFL. Stanley had the quality tape, with solid traits. I got too caught up on one thing and it made me overthink the rest of the story.
Stanley is basically the same weight he was during the draft process. You can tell the work he did, however. He’s gotten more solid, thicker, and harder to beat. Stanley also lifted my eyes to the type of tackle the NFL was getting ready for. I was always looking for the massive monster, the human plow.
Stanley has great length and reach, but he’s fit and athletic. He’s got the power in more of a smooth package. I was looking for a 345 pound Jonathan Ogden type. Stanley showed me that in this day and age, he’s what we should be looking for.
I still prefer the big mauler. Everybody has a type at the positions he scouts. This year I was a big fan of the big tackles with a surplus of power and a mean streak. Samuel Cosmi was my guy. I still think he was the most overlooked prospect. Washington got him in the second round and he’s going to be great for them.
Ravens Take home point:
In 2016 though, I would never have considered a player like Rashawn Slater to be a top 10 player. Slater is a 6-4 304 pound prospect. He’s a tight end with a traditional offensive guard body. His game is built on athleticism and quick feet. In 2021, I saw a lot of Stanley in him. I stayed true to myself in my evaluations, but I adjusted the way I look at these types of players. In 2021, Slater was a top 10 prospect for me.
I don’t mind pulling up a failure of mine here. That’s part of it, and the draft is about the process. I have a big tower of guys I was right about. The miss pile is bigger than I want it, but that’s the case with everybody. The process is about learning, not overcorrecting, and becoming more in tune with the game at both the college and NFL levels. The process is what it’s about. The good news is the Ravens understand this perfectly.