Today, the Baltimore Ravens signed the former Chicago Bears third-round pick, center Hroniss Grasu. This move comes after the Ravens played a full game with just two linemen in reserve. The normal route the Ravens take is to have at least eight offensive linemen on the team, leaving three in reserves. Without the extra backup protection, the Ravens faired well but still felt uneasy about the situation. The move to seven offensive linemen had to be made, as Baltimore was dangerously thin in the secondary caused by Jimmy Smith’s suspension along with injuries to Maurice Canady and Anthony Averett. Smith is not counted as part of the 53 man roster during his suspension, and Baltimore placed Canady on the injured reserve. The team did not designate Anthony Averrett to sit on the injured reserve, and as a result, cut offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor to add Robertson Daniel.
Hroniss Grasu was selected by the Chicago Bears in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. During his time in Chicago, Grasu started twelve games for the Bears. Grasu has all the measurables that one could look for in a center. He is tall, strong, and large, standing at 6’3″ and 301 lbs. Despite what one may think these measurables mean in terms of success, Grasu found little in Chicago. He was derailed by injuries. An ACL tear in his second season and hand injury in 2017 prevented him from finding long-term stability with the Bears.
Unshockingly, the Bears decided to part ways with Grasu this season, and go with younger talent at center. Grasu, if healthy, can be a solid offensive lineman. But the key is to stay healthy. The advantage for Grasu in Baltimore is that he is sitting behind Matt Skura, not starting. This not only helps him to remain healthy by not getting much game action but also gives him time to get acclimated to Baltimore. If a situation were to arise where he would be needed to play in a game, he will have already been worked into the system, ready to go.