Ronnie Stanley knows what it takes to immediately step into the starting lineup as a rookie.
The former Notre Dame left tackle started every game he played during his 2016 rookie season, and the Ravens now have another rookie lineman competing to follow in that path.
Orlando Brown Jr. is competing to earn the starting right tackle spot, and the Ravens had him working with the first-team offense during last week’s Organized Team Activities (OTAs). It’s hard to tell how NFL-ready an offensive lineman is until the pads come on during training camp, but the fact that Brown is getting first-team reps shows that the Ravens have high hopes for him.
“I told him to just keep his head down, work hard, just know your role, and he’s been doing great,” Stanley said.
The parallels between Stanley and Brown aren’t necessarily concrete, as Stanley was the first offensive lineman taken in the 2016 draft and Brown came off the board in the third round. But Brown was still an All-American performer in college who would have likely been drafted much earlier if not for a poor performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Another big difference is that Brown is working to make the switch to right tackle after playing on the left side at Oklahoma.
“He’s been working his butt off, trying to learn new techniques, and he’s playing a whole new position at right tackle,” Stanley said. “He’s working hard. I couldn’t ask him to do any more.”
Baltimore’s offensive line is still very much a work in progress, as the Ravens are using the offseason practices to experiment with the group. Alex Lewis has worked at left guard and center, and James Hurst has played right tackle and left guard.
The focus is to find the combination of the best five linemen, and that decision won’t be made until the preseason.
In addition to Brown competing for a starting job, this is also a big year for Stanley.
Heading into his third NFL season, Stanley is now one of the more veteran pieces along the offensive line. The former No. 6 overall pick wants to elevate his game.