The Baltimore Ravens have drafted offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, taking him with the No. 6 overall pick. Stanley completed a full four seasons with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and comes into the league as one of the top two offensive tackles in the draft, alongside Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss, who he surprisingly went ahead of.
Stanley was consistently overshadowed by Tunsil for much of the pre-draft process, and his stock took another hit when rumors about a questionable work ethic started to surface prior to his pro day in late March. If anonymous rumors suggested that Stanley needed to perform well at his pro day, then by all accounts he did just that. He improved upon his NFL Combine short shuttle time of 4.9 by over a fifth of a second, clocking in at 4.69 seconds. He put up 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press after his decision to not lift in Indianapolis.
More importantly, though, Stanley stood out in positional drills. He was fluid through all of his drills and ultimately made it clear that the athleticism gap between Tunsil and himself was not as significant as some might have thought. All 32 teams were represented and there weren't any negative reports concerning his workout.
But as Stanley answered many of his concerns, Tunsil validated some of his in the moments before the beginning of the first round when a video of him smoking out of a bong with a gas mask was posted to his Twitter account.
#OM OT Laremy Tunsil has slipped at least to 7. The video did not help. His agent has been calling teams saying that's not who he is— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 29, 2016
Stanley excelled as a pass blocker in college and was arguably better than Tunsil at a lot of things you want from an offensive lineman in the NFL. He has quick feet and hands and can protect his quarterback. Tunsil showed off athleticism and versatility at Ole Miss, but as Stephen White pointed out, Tunsil didn't have nearly as much tape as Stanley did going up against an edge rusher one-on-one. Tunsil made big plays, but Stanley kept his quarterback clean with violent, punishing blocks that would serve any team well.
With Stanley not only did I actually get to see him out on an island blocking edge rushers one-on-one in every game, I also saw him lock those guys down game after game after game. He faced speed rushers, power rushers, little rushers, big rushers or some combination of those attributes and the results were almost always the same: little to no pressure.
That's high praise for Stanley, who will get his opportunity to show that it was a mistake for any team to put Tunsil above him.