Rookie left guard Ben Powers lined up with the starters at Thursday’s practice, but the competition for the starting job remains wide open, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.
Powers, James Hurst, Jermaine Eluemunor and Alex Lewis are all in the mix, though Lewis has been unable to join training camp as he recovers from shoulder surgery.
“We don’t have a starter there, and who would you want me to put in there? He’s the guy right now,” Harbaugh said of Powers. “Jermaine has to get in shape still more, and those guys are competing, along with James Hurst, although James Hurst knows how to play the position. So we’re giving those younger guys the reps. We’ll see what happens.”
Powers wants to make the most of every practice rep he gets as he goes through his first training camp with the Ravens.
“Camp’s going good, it’s a daily grind, it’s waking up with the mentality every day that you’ve got to get better,” Powers said. “It’s a lot more fun playing with the ones. But at the same time, I’ve got to keep working on my craft. I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable with the offense, but I still don’t have everything perfect.”
Ravens right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. went through a similar process as a rookie last season. He practiced with the first-team offense for most of the summer before taking over as the starter in Week 7 after Hurst suffered an injury. It remains to be seen if Powers becomes a starter, but he has sought advice from Brown, who he played with at Oklahoma.
“I talk to him a lot, ask him questions,” Powers said. “He told me to focus on me and my game. My main priority is to help the team win. If that’s playing, if it’s being the No. 6 or No. 7 offensive lineman, my job is to help us win. That’s my mentality.”
Powers has impressed veteran Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda. Yanda (6-foot-3, 305 pound) and Powers (6-4, 310) don’t have the raw size advantage that Brown does, so Powers can learn a lot of technique pointers from Yanda.
“It’s early, but I like the kid’s attitude. I like his approach,” Yanda said. “He seems like a smart kid. His head’s in the playbook, and he has the plays down. Now he’s just adjusting to the physicality of the game at this level. I like what I see so far, but it’s early yet.”
Powers held his own during Thursday’s non-padded practice and looked forward to next week’s joint practices with the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s another challenge the coaching staff will use to evaluate Powers’ progress.
“Those practices will be a lot of fun,” Powers said smiling.
In other Thursday practice observations: