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Rookie Tackle Greg Senat Is Using His Basketball Background to Switch Positions


Rookie tackle Greg Senat got some reps with the Ravens' first-team offense during minicamp, and he once lined up against veteran Terrell Suggs.

Senat is a sixth-round pick out of Division 1-AA Wagner, a developmental prospect that the Ravens hope to groom for more extensive action down the road. Suggs is a seven-time Pro Bowler with Hall of Fame credentials.

This wasn't a fair fight.

"I was like, 'Alright, this is it. Let's go!'" Senat said.

When the ball snapped, however, Suggs immediately dropped into coverage. Senat was left blocking nobody. Relieved? Not Senat.

"I was kind of disappointed," he said. "I wanted to see what it's like to block him. But I'll get my chance in training camp."

Senat is short on experience, but high on confidence and talent. And it has served him well thus far in his rookie year.

Senat got a late start to football.  The 6-foot-6, 308-pounder initially played two years of basketball at Wagner before picking up football and devoting most of his focus there. Senat first wanted to play tight end, but the coaches put him at right tackle after they saw his potential there.

Senat still finished his four years of playing basketball, even while starring for the football team. On the hardcourt, he was a backup who was mainly asked to play physical defense. He averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game over his career.

But while basketball didn't give Senat a future, it helped him with his eventual career.

"I think basketball in generally helped me have good feet," Senat said. "I can move my feet, cross over, be able to mirror people."

That footwork has helped Senat make the transition from right tackle to the left side in the NFL, which is no easy task. The bonus is that Senat is relatively young in his development anyway, so it's more forming habits as opposed to breaking and resetting old ones.

"I have athleticism to move, so I guess that transitions to the left side and faster guys coming off the edge. I like it; it's a new challenge," Senat said.

"I feel like since Day 1, I've definitely made strides in picking up the playbook and learning how to play left tackle. I'm getting better every day and working on one specific thing to do to get better than the day before."

Senat is still very much in the learning phase. The Ravens have plenty of starting options at both tackle spots with Ronnie Stanley, James Hurst, Alex Lewis and fellow rookie Orlando Brown Jr. so it's unlikely that Senat would have to step into a big role during his rookie season.

At the same time, he doesn't feel like he's that far behind his counterparts who have more experience or come from major college programs.

"We all put our shoes on the same way. Other guys played at bigger schools and bigger competition, but I don't think I have much catching up to do," Senat said.

"I'm a rookie, so I need to fix everything. I need to get better at everything every day. But I also just have to go out there and play hard."

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