The Ravens lost backup center Trystan Colon to the New York Jets in free agency this offseason but they fixed the gap created by the veteran by signing former Chicago Bears stalwart and starting center Sam Mustipher last May.
That acquisition marked the return home of Mustipher, a native of Owings Mills where the Ravens have their Under Armour Performance Center facilities.
Mustipher signed with Baltimore following a three-year stretch in Chicago where he played 43 games starting 40 of them, including 17 and 16 in the last two campaigns.
Second-year center Tyler Linderbaum is going nowhere, mind you, so the starting role is clearly secured, and in possession of one of the best rookies of the 2022 season and an upcoming Pro Bowl nominee.
Even then, Mustipher is looking more like a lock to make the 53-man roster of the Ravens each passing day, according to Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com.
"Mustipher could be the Ravens' backup center this season behind Tyler Linderbaum," Brown wrote following Thursday's training camp practices. "Patrick Mekari can play any position on the offensive line, but Mekari could be the primary backup at left tackle or either guard spot," the reporter reasoned.
Head Coach John Harbaugh also gave the new Raven his flowers after the training session was over and ahead of the preseason finale next Saturday when Baltimore will visit the Tampa Bay Bucs.
"Sam has played very well," Harbaugh said. "He's picked up the offense very well, [and] he's a guy that has started numerous games, so he's been there."
Mustipher's experience can prove key when it comes to his chances at making the team. Harbaugh said "He understands the concepts, he's held up really well from a base and an anchor standpoint, he's moved his feet well in reach blocks and things like that's... He's definitely put himself in the position to be a contributor for us."
According to Pro Football Focus grades, Mustipher wrapped up the 2022 season with a dubious 63.4 overall grade. His run blocking (65.5) was much better than his pass blocking (55.1), and he closed the season as the 18th-best center in the NFL appearing on 1,020 snaps for the Bears.
Even though he was a below-average performer at the position, Mustipher improved on his prior campaigns when he graded at 59.5 and 51.0 as a rookie and then a sophomore.
Linderbaum, on the other hand, was sublime for the Ravens putting up the sixth-best PFF grade (74.6) among centers last year, and he'll try to keep building on that solid foundation while anchoring the middle of Baltimore's offensive line with Mustipher backing him up.