OWINGS MILLS — If not for injury, Ryan Jensen may have been the Baltimore Ravens’ starting center last season.
Most people have probably never heard of the college Jensen went to — Colorado State-Pueblo. But privately, the Ravens have been enthusiastic about Jensen since they took him in the sixth round of last year’s NFL draft.
Jensen didn’t play in any games as a rookie last season. He didn’t even practice for more than half the year after breaking his foot early in training camp. But Jensen is healthy now, and he will be one of the players competing to replace free agent departure Michael Oher as Baltimore’s starting right tackle.
“Ryan is a tough and gritty competitor who has experience at all five O-line spots,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He has the makeup, physical ability, intelligence and versatility to compete as a potential starter. We’re excited to see what he brings to the table this year.”
Jensen practiced primarily at center and guard once he returned last season, but Baltimore is now looking at him primarily as a tackle, which he played in college.
Jensen was a four-year starter at tackle at Colorado State-Pueblo.
“It’s another learning experience for me being back out there,” Jensen said. “But I got to start 44 or 45 straight games in college at tackle, so it’s pretty natural for me, just some different techniques here.”
Jensen will work at both left and right during the coming months and could provide depth at both positions even if he doesn’t win a starting job. But he is a name to keep an eye on in that competition for the starting right tackle job.
Rick Wagner, a fifth-round pick last year, is probably the favorite to win the job. He was first-team All-Big 10 as a senior at Wisconsin in 2012, and he would be Baltimore’s starting right tackle if the season started today, according to coach John Harbaugh.
Former third-round pick pick Jah Reid could factor into the competition at right tackle as well.
But the Ravens are curious to see what Jensen can do.
“We’re going to put him in the mix out there and see how he does,” Harbaugh said.