The Baltimore Ravens were impressed with a number of the members of their 2022 NFL Draft class during this past week’s mandatory minicamp, but one, in particular, caught the eye of star quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson spoke to the media following Thursday’s practice and fielded a variety of questions primarily pertaining to his contract situation and his absence from OTAs. However, one such quote regarding rookie center Tyler Linderbaum got somewhat overlooked.
When asked about his new rookie center, Jackson made sure to praise his new teammate. Although, his praise wasn’t exactly the type of praise you’d expect an offensive lineman to receive.
Rather than focus on Linderbaum’s performance as a blocker, Jackson highlighted his speed and athleticism. In this case, that speed was on display after Jackson tossed an interception.
"“The chemistry is great and I threw an interception yesterday. They were taking it back to the house, the other way. I was paused, talking (to teammates) during the play and my center Tyler was getting after it. E was running him down. He’s fast. He’s fast as heck for a center man. I’ve never seen a center run like that. He’s a football player.”"
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has never seen a center as fast as Tyler Linderbaum
The 25th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Linderbaum is expected to be a day one starter for the Ravens at center. After drafting Kyle Hamilton in the first round, most expected that Linderbaum was no longer a realistic option for Baltimore.
That was until they traded away Marquise Brown to move back into the first round. One trade-down later and Linderbaum was the pick.
A three-year starter at Iowa, Linderbaum was widely seen as one of the best center prospects to enter the NFL in years. The 22-year-old was named first-team All-American in both 2020 and 2021 and was the recipient of the Rimington Award this past season, given to the nation’s top center.
And as Jackson points out, Linderbaum was known for his ridiculous speed and athleticism in college. At 6-foot-2, 296 pounds, few offensive linemen move like Linderbaum as he uses his quick feet and agility to explode into the second level.
That athleticism should allow him to find success in a run-heavy Ravens offense — or on the off chance he’s tasked with chasing down any defenders running with the ball after an interception.
Lamar Jackson seems very happy with his new center, and it’s fair to say the Ravens are as well.