Many of the eyes Wednesday at the Ravens’ first organized team activities (OTA) workout that was open to the media were fixated for a decent chunk of practice on the team’s offensive line. Team officials had identified that area as one they would like to improve this offseason, and they have attempted to do so by spending a pair of draft picks on linemen, Kelechi Osemele (second round) and Gino Gradkowski(fourth).
The Ravens rotated several linemen with the first-team offense, including second-year players Jah Reid and Justin Boren. Bryant McKinnie (who appears to be keeping his weight in check), Michael Oher and Reid took turns at tackle. Osemele played left guard exclusively. And Gradkowski spent most of the day filling in for veteran center Matt Birk, one of a handful of notable veterans who skipped the voluntary workout.
Of course, that’s just what the coaching staff showed us Wednesday. As my colleague Jeff Zrebiec wrote this morning, Reid told reporters that he spent most of Tuesday’s practice at guard. And as far as we know, Reid could be lining up at wide receiver at today’s week-ending workout, which is closed to the media, too.
Moral of the story: Don’t read too much into one practice.
It could take all summer for coach John Harbaugh and his staff to determine who will line up at left guard against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. That is the biggest question posed to the Ravens offense this offseason, though it’s one that right guard Marshal Yanda doesn’t feel will be too difficult to answer.
“We just need to find one guy to fill that spot,” said Yanda, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season. “There’s no real complicated equation. They’re going to pick a guy that blocks most consistently day in and day out. Whether that’s K.O, whether that’s Gradkowski, whether that’s Justin Boren, who knows? They just take it one day at a time and the guy that plays the best is going to play. That’s it.”
For what it’s worth, McKinnie liked what he had seen from Osemele, who was drafted out of Iowa State, and Gradkowski, who went to Delaware, during the offseason program and these first two days of OTAs.
“They’re doing pretty good,” McKinnie said. “It’s good that they are able to get the opportunity to be here and learn the offense with football school and everything. I feel like Gino is doing a good job and K.O. is going to be a very good player. He has very strong hands. So I’m just looking forward to seeing them play.”
And clearly, based on the attention paid to the offensive line Wednesday, he isn’t the only one around here looking forward to it.