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Depth of experience might be key in John Urschel’s bid to become Ravens’ starting center

Ever the mathematician, John Urschel knows his four-year career with the Ravens is already above the norm of 3.3 years for the average tenure of an NFL player. Could that experience give him an edge against Ryan Jensen and Matt Skura in their competition to become the team's starting center in 2017?

"Yeah, it helps," Urschel acknowledged Tuesday afternoon on the first day of a three-day mandatory minicamp. "I've been around the block.  I've seen a lot of things. So if I see something on the defense that maybe we haven't talked about in the meeting room, I have experience and I have some instincts about what to do. So I think that when I'm very much on my own and I need to make a quick decision, I usually make the right one. So that helps, having that experience."

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Although Jensen was drafted in a year earlier than Urschel who was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft, Urschel has made 13 starts and 40 appearances compared with Jensen's nine starts and 19 appearances. And Urschel has made seven starts at center compared to Jensen's zero starts there.

Yet Urschel and Jensen have alternated as the first-team center in organized team activities, and that pattern continued with Urschel at center and Jensen at right guard for Marshal Yanda on Tuesday.

Asked what he needs to do to distinguish himself from Jensen and Skura, Urschel replied: "When you're at center, you need to run the offensive line – just being vocal and being consistent and being dependable. These are the important factors to being a center."

A rotation is not the preferred option for any player, but Urschel said he is amenable to whatever head coach John Harbaugh and new offensive line coach Joe D'Alessandris suggest.

"I think the competition brings out the best in all of us, and that's something that I'll leave to the coaches, Coach Harbaugh, Coach Joe," Urschel said. "The competition right now between myself and Ryan and Matt Skura is good for all three of us."

Twitter: @edwardleesun

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