Parker Graham Hopes To Make It With Ravens

Another former Oklahoma State player we spoke to this week that is catching his breath before the start of training camp is rookie free agent offensive lineman Parker Graham. The 6-7, 300-pound Graham was signed by the Baltimore Ravens practically before the draft ended. It was a good move for Graham as the Ravens did not draft an offensive linemen in the draft.

Graham comes in with the experience of playing both right and left guard and both right and left tackle. He is versatile and he is talented. But after playing all four of those positions for the Ravens in rookie minicamp and then during the OTAs (organized team activities), he was injured and missed the full team minicamp with a groin injury that happened on the last day before the minicamp started.

"That was a setback for me just from wanting to get in there and go against the veterans (defensive line) like (Terrell) Suggs, Haloti Ngata and those guys," Graham explained. "I'm thankful that it wasn't anything worse and when I get back into training camp I will be full go."

Graham had a sense that the Ravens liked him with his versatility and that he had performed well and made few busts. He came prepared to work and face the challenge of trying to make the team as a rookie free agent.

So did he get a feel from the coaches on how the injury impacted him or did he just have to wonder?

"For me, I was really blessed to have Coach (Joe) Wickline in college and he is a straight shooter and it really helped me along. Thankfully, I have the same thing with Coach (Juan) Castillo in Baltimore," Graham said.

"I couldn't have a better teacher and a better coach to go to. He has taught me so much about offensive line techniques and play in the short amount of time that I've been there. In general, he has made me a better player. He was very communicative to me about how the situation was and that nothing would be different and (in training camp) we were all going to get our fair shot. As long as I get up there and ball out and do the best that I can then I think that is all that is going to matter now."

You are always hearing that veterans in the NFL as so helpful to teammates and rookies. It is a situation where even though jobs are on the line, developing players for the team seems to come first.

"The first guy that pops into my mind is Eugene Monroe. He is the left tackle, and ever since I got there I was really working to get used to tackle since I played guard most of my senior season," Graham said. "He really helped me out a lot on the days we were up there with the veterans.

"If they see something in video in meetings they will speak right up. Marshal Yanda, he is our right guard, and he has helped me a lot. They are all willing to help you. It is interesting because you get to the league and you think everybody is going to keep their secrets to themselves, but it is very open and they are always helping each other."

During the down time between the end of OTAs and minicamp and the start of training camp there is no rest for Graham as he got married, went on a honeymoon, and is still staying in tip-top shape for camp. His new wife, Taitum (formerly Mead), has been to Baltimore and is good with the move and now it is time to make it happen.

"It has been busy and I think it has been a blessing as well just like I said when I did that interview with the reporter from Joplin," Graham recounted. "I got to marry the woman of my dreams and I can pursue my dream of a career as well with the Ravens. I couldn't ask for anything more."

We also asked him about his new head coach and for the second time of the week (Daytawion Lowe in an earlier story compared Eagles head coach Chip Kelly to Mike Gundy) a former Cowboys compared their new NFL head coach to their college coach.

"He is a guy that just listening to him in team meetings, you just want to go to war for him," Graham said of the older Harbaugh brother John. "He is a very player-oriented coach, a lot like Coach Gundy. I couldn't have asked for anything more."

It is a good time to be Parker Graham and our prediction for July and August is that he makes it even better by sticking with the Baltimore Ravens.

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