Ravens rest two prominent receivers, add more veteran depth to offensive line mix

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Taking the field for the final open organized team activity workout before next week’s mandatory minicamp, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens were without two of their top three projected wide receivers for the 2021 season.

Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman were among the 20 players on the 90-man roster not taking part in Tuesday’s session as both were dealing with muscle-related ailments, according to head coach John Harbaugh. Bateman, the 27th overall pick of this year’s draft, was also hampered by an unspecified issue that kept him out of a large portion of the first OTA open to media two weeks ago before returning last Wednesday.

“There are guys dealing with things,” Harbaugh said. “[Bateman] had some tenderness and some tightness from all the running he’s been doing. Marquise, the same thing; he’s had some muscle-type issues. Those guys are going through that. We’ve had other guys, especially the receivers and the [defensive backs]. They do a lot of running, so that comes up a little bit in this heat.”

A new addition on the practice field was veteran guard Michael Schofield, whose signing was announced Tuesday morning. The 2014 third-round pick appeared in 11 games and made three starts for Carolina last year and has started 69 contests in his career spent with the Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver.

Of course, Baltimore has no shortage of recent draft picks vying for the starting left guard job and reserve spots on the offensive line this summer, but Schofield’s positional versatility as someone who’s played both guard and tackle in his NFL career should give him a reasonable chance to make the 53-man roster.

“Just another veteran lineman who really knows how to play. He understands the game. He has a physicality to him,” said Harbaugh, who noted the 30-year-old being a University of Michigan product. “Big Ten-type of offensive lineman, [and] you appreciate the mindset and the style. We’ll just see where it goes from here, but I do like the fact that we’re bringing in guys that kind of embrace our style of play up front and are very smart and experienced players.”

Offensive tackle Andre Smith remains on the 90-man roster and would appear to fit into a similar category as a veteran depth piece vying for a roster spot, but the 34-year-old hasn’t taken part in voluntary spring workouts after sitting out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ravens signed former Pittsburgh Steeler Alejandro Villanueva to start at right tackle and back up standout left tackle Ronnie Stanley, but the swing tackle job is seemingly still up for grabs with 2020 third-round pick Tyre Phillips being a prominent in-house candidate.

Smith, a 2009 first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals who’s started 98 games in his career, signed with the Ravens in January of 2020, but his standing in the organization remains a bit of a mystery ahead of next week’s mandatory minicamp.

“It’s just that we haven’t really had him out here, so I don’t know any more than that,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll just have to see going forward. I understand he’s working hard. I’ve texted with him a few times, so we’ll just have to see how that plays out. I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

In addition to Brown, Bateman, and Smith, the following players weren’t participating in Tuesday’s OTA: Stanley (ankle), fullback Patrick Ricard (hip), tight end Nick Boyle (knee), cornerback Marcus Peters, cornerback Tavon Young (knee), defensive end Calais Campbell, nose tackle Brandon Williams, defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, safety Jordan Richards, defensive back Anthony Levine, defensive tackle Broderick Washington, cornerback Iman Marshall (knee), inside linebacker Otaro Alaka (knee), tight end Jake Breeland (knee), cornerback Chris Westry, and wide receiver Deon Cain.

Boyle, Young, Marshall, Breeland, and Alaka were among the rehabbing players who watched at least part of practice from the sideline while McPhee was grieving the recent death of his great-grandmother, according to Harbaugh.