Thoughts on Bryant McKinnie, Ravens

August, 23, 2011
8/23/11
6:17
PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens got help on the offensive line by agreeing to a two-year contract with former Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie on Tuesday.

Here are several thoughts on the move:
  • The first thought is concerning McKinnie's health. He was released by the Vikings after reportedly weighing nearly 400 pounds. I assume McKinnie is closer to playing shape now. Otherwise, the Ravens would not have signed him. But conditioning is something to watch early in the season.
  • Baltimore has a decision to make with McKinnie and current left tackle Michael Oher. McKinnie has played left tackle his entire career. But his conditioning is in question, he's on a new team, and he has to learn a new offense in about two weeks. All of these factors could make it risky to ask McKinnie to protect quarterback Joe Flacco's blind side in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If McKinnie becomes a quick study, the Ravens could make the switch. Oher is much better at right tackle.
  • This move reminds me of Baltimore's decision in 2008 to sign veteran offensive tackle Willie Anderson. McKinnie, who will be 32 next month, is not the long-term solution. But the Ravens are trying to make a Super Bowl run this year and McKinnie could be a good short-term rental. Anderson gave the Ravens one good year in 2008 at age 33 before retiring. Baltimore advanced to the AFC title game that season.
  • Finally, the Ravens realized they couldn't go into the season starting a rookie offensive tackle. Third-round pick Jah Reid might eventually become a good player. But he needs to work on several things before he becomes a full-time starter. Yes, McKinnie's conditioning and work ethic are risks. But at least the Ravens know McKinnie can perform in the NFL at a high level.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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