Rookie offensive tackle getting reps with first-team

With Jared Gaither sitting out today’s practice with back spasms, the Ravens turned to a rookie sixth-round pick to get most of the reps at right tackle with the first-string offense.

The fact that Ramon Harewood got called upon for such duties just a few months after joining the NFL should say plenty about how far the 23-year-old has come.

Harewood didn’t start playing football until he went to college, when he joined the team at Division II Morehouse. Now, four years later, he’s lining up across from three-time Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs while still trying to improve on the finer points of the game.

“It’s a day-to-day process,” Harewood said today. “I try to improve every day. Try to break it down, not to focus on too many things. One day I work on my stance, the next day work on my pad level, stuff like that, so I can master the small stuff.

“If you try to fix everything at one time, you’re kind of all over the place, so I just use my reps to focus on the small stuff.”

Harewood has been an incredibly quick study, especially considering he missed nearly all of the Ravens’ offseason minicamps because of a knee injury.

Now fully healthy, the first ever NFL player from Barbados has impressed the Ravens’ coaching staff with his physical play, quickness, and intelligence. He has seen time at both left and right tackle, and has made the transition from one position to the other fairly seamlessly.

“Ramon is [making strides],” Harbaugh said. “He’s playing both sides, he’s taking every snap, and he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t make the same mistake twice. Really a smart player, you know, for a guy that has very little football experience historically. He has a long way to go, but he’s moving pretty quickly.”

The 6-6, 341 pound rookie isn’t resting on his laurels after some early success. Harewood refuses to say that he’s pleased with his progress so far, instead choosing to focus on the one-day-at-a-time line of thinking.

“I kind of have high standards for myself,” he says. “Sometimes [the coaches] say I’m doing a good job, but I still feel like I can do a little bit better. Right now, my main focus is to keep growing, inch by inch, every day. Watch film, come back out here the next day and correct stuff that I did wrong the day before.

“All in all, I guess you could say they’ve been pretty pleased, but I’m not taking that for granted.”

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