When the Ravens re-signed Bryant McKinnie last week, it made their offensive line better in three postitions. With McKinnie staying put in Baltimore with his new two-year contract, the only unknown on the offensive line heading into OTA’s, mini-camp and training camp is who will win the starting center spot vacated by Matt Birk, who retired after 15 seasons and six Pro Bowl appearances.
Heading into camp, the favorite to win the job is Gino Gradkowski, a fourth-round selection in 2012 who backed up Birk and started and played well Week 17 against a talented Cincinatti Bengals defensive line. Gradkowski’s main competition was thought to be just-drafted Ryan Jensen, a G/T in college at Colorado State-Pueblo, who would would be making the transition over to center.
Apparently more competition will be heading into camp as the Ravens have traded a conditional 2014 draft pick to the Indianapolis Colts for center A.Q. Shipley, according to CBS’s Jason LaCanfora. Shipley started five games for the Colts last season and appeared in 14 total games.
The move has already drawn praise from stat nerds ProFootballFocus who graded him out at +6.9 last season. The site that studies more statistics than most common football fans have even heard of said that he was a possible Secret Superstar for the Colts.
With Gradkowski, and now the addition of Shipley, the Ravens now have two Pittsburgh-area natives as centers on their roster. That has to make family reunions a little awkward.
So what do you think, Ravens fans – is this a good “pick” up?