Stocky and stout at the point of attack, Ravens reserve offensive lineman Justin Boren has proven difficult for defensive linemen to push around.
The former All-Big Ten Conference selection and second-team All-American selection from Ohio State has lined up at center and guard throughout training camp, drawing solid reviews from the coaching staff.
About as unflashy as it comes, Boren is listed at 6-foot-2, 315 pounds. However, he appears to be even shorter.
After spending his rookie year on the Ravens' practice squad, Boren is making a bid for a spot on the active roster this season. He was promoted from the practice squad during the postseason, but was inactive for both playoff games.
In order to move up, Boren will need to overtake veteran center-guard Tony Wragge.
What the Ravens like about Boren besides his hard-nosed style is his versatility as an interior lineman and how he fits their zone blocking approach advocated by line coach Andy Moeller.
"Justin has done very well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Boren, who won the Buckeyes' Jim Parker award as a senior for most outstanding offensive lineman. "He's always been, we think, a really good run-blocker, especially in a zone scheme, because he's very athletic.
"The pass-blocking stuff, because he's a little bit of a smaller guy, relatively speaking. because these guys are all really big, he's done very well with the pass blocking, too. He understands the scheme, smart guy. He has had a good camp."
The Ravens like to cross-train interior blockers like Boren.
"The fact that you can play center if you are a guard is big," Harbaugh said. "If you can add center to your resume, I think that gives you a lot of leverage in this league."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times