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Ravens position battle: Right tackle

7/22/2014

With the Baltimore Ravens starting training camp Thursday, let's take a look at some key position battles this week.

RIGHT TACKLE

Why there is a position battle: The Ravens didn't re-sign Michael Oher, a 2009 first-round pick who got overpaid by the Tennessee Titans ($20 million over four years). While letting Oher leave was expected, the Ravens surprisingly didn't draft or sign a significant free-agent offensive tackle.

Early frontrunner: Ricky Wagner. The Ravens have shown their confidence in Wagner by not adding a right tackle this offseason. A fifth-round pick from a year ago, he worked exclusively with the starters all offseason. The Ravens thought he improved last season, when he played 12 percent of the offensive snaps as an extra blocker. It's now Wagner's job to lose.

Top contender: Ryan Jensen. In an unexpected move, the Ravens gave snaps to Jensen at right tackle. A favorite of offensive line coach Juan Castillo, Jensen had been projected as a center or guard. But the Ravens have veteran depth on the interior with Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley. So, they are giving Jensen a shot at right tackle, where he showed promise.

Dark horse: Someone not on the team. If Wagner struggles, the Ravens can bump Kelechi Osemele from left guard to right tackle. But the Ravens like Osemele and Eugene Monroe on the left side, so that could be a secondary option now. There's not much on the free-agent market outside of Eric Winston, who had been linked to the Ravens because of his history with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. The real dark horse is someone on another team right now. The Ravens could repeat what they did in 2008, when they went with Willie Anderson at right tackle after he was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals following the preseason finale.