Ramon Harewood has been with the Ravens for two seasons, but the 6-foot-6 offensive tackle has yet to play a single snap in a game that counted in the standings. He has spent the past two seasons on the injured reserve -- he had knee surgery in 2010 then an ankle injury in 2011 -- and will try to lock down a roster spot this summer.
The Ravens selected Harewood, now 25, out of Morehouse in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. Physically imposing at a relatively fit 340 pounds, Harewood has spent time at both left tackle and right tackle this spring, though after playing mostly left tackle in college, he admits that “it feels a little weird over there” on the right.
And it looked that way at times Wednesday afternoon, when the media was permitted to watch the team’s voluntary organized team activity at The Castle in Owings Mills. Working with the first-team offense -- Bryant McKinnie and Jah Reid did not practice -- Harewood committed a handful of false starts and holding penalties.
“Right now my main focus is just to get better every day,” the Barbados native said during our conversation Wednesday. “The whole past month, we have been focusing on schemes and stuff, so I have a pretty good knowledge now of what we’re doing. It’s becoming a lot easier, but mentally, I still have a little way to go.”
Harewood admits there is only so much a player can learn while on injured reserve. They can sit in on team meetings and go over film with their position coach, but Harewood says the practice field is the real classroom.
“Most of the time when you watch film, you go over the basic scheme,” he said. “But you make adjustments on the field. So I know the basic scheme, but in terms of all the adjustments, I wasn’t really focused in on that. … The mental part of not feeling like you’re on the team, it’s like a block almost. It only lets you do so much.”
He is now getting valuable instruction from the coaches -- for example, they are drilling him about his hand placement -- and is learning how to fit into the team’s zone-blocking scheme. That’s why these voluntary workouts are so vital for a young player who will have to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster this summer.
Harewood is behind McKinnie, Reid and Michael Oher on the team’s depth chart, and second-round draft pick Kelechi Osemele is capable of playing right tackle if needed. The Ravens were able to hang on to him in the past by placing him on injured reserve, but this year he may have to earn that roster spot to stick with the team.