The Baltimore Ravens are loaded up on offense for another playoff run with MVP Lamar Jackson. The biggest offensive question this offseason is how they plan to replace retired Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda.
One man battling for the starting guard spot previously occupied for the past 13 years by a potential Hall of Famer is former Seattle Seahawks guard D.J. Fluker.
"I watched Yanda for a long time. He's a great guard," Fluker said on the Ravens' "The Lounge" podcast, via the team's official website. "Those are big shoes to fill. Yanda did his thing. That's what he was known for, being physical and tough. But what I can do is be myself, be who I am. Be the person that comes out every single day, works hard, be physical and impose my will on people. That's me. That's D.J. -- always passionate about football. That's what I can give you."
A former first-round pick by the Chargers in 2011, Fluker began his career at tackle, being named to the All-Rookie team, before moving inside to guard. He was released by the Chargers in 2017, spent one season with the New York Giants and played the last two years in Seattle. The Seahawks cut Fluker this offseason after adding O-line help in the draft. The 29-year-old started 23 games over the past two years in Seattle.
"Maybe they wanted (someone) younger," Fluker said of his release. "Maybe they want a different type of player. I can't speak for that. But I can come in here, show what I am as a person and a football player. I'm going to be myself. I promise, you're going to love watching me.
"Of course, I'm going to have a chip on my shoulder. My job right now is playing like I don't have a job. That's my mindset every single season. Come in there, work my [butt] off. That's what I do. I'm going to be in the lineup somewhere, hopefully."
Fluker is set to battle with second-year guard Ben Powers and rookies Tyre Phillips (third round) and Ben Bredeson (fourth round) for the starting gig.
Interior blocking is key to the Ravens' run game and always vital to protecting the pocket for quarterbacks. No one expects the man replacing Yanda to play at a HOF-level, but how well Fluker, Powers or others perform will play a key role in how potent Baltimore's offense remains in 2020.