Could a Move Back to Tackle be in Osemele’s Future?

US PRESSWIRE Sports
Sep 16, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele (72) blocks during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Ravens 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

With Left Tackle Eugene Monroe set to earn a big payday this off-season, it is very unlikely (even though team officials won’t admit it right now) that the Ravens will be able to re-sign Michael Oher. This leaves a hole on the offensive line to Marshall Yanda’s right. However, the Ravens could go in-house to fill the gap with third-year OL Kelechi Osemele, the 6-5, 330 pound native of Houston, Texas.

Osemele started all 16 regular season games and was very effective at right tackle during his rookie year in 2012 before starting all four games of the Ravens’ championship run at left guard after Bryant McKinnie was put in at LT. The switch moved Oher back to the right side and Osemele replaced the injured Jah Reid next to McKinnie.

The 24-year-old (25 in June) entered the 2013 season as the starting LG, but a back injury limited him for the first half of the season. He eventually underwent back surgery in November, ending the 2012 second-round draft pick’s season after seven games (all of which were starts at LG).

If Oher does walk this offseason, moving Osemele back to right tackle might be the Ravens’ best option to not only fill the gap Oher leaves, but to upgrade over Oher as well on the right side. After starting at left tackle in 44 straight games at Iowa State, Osemele made the transition to RT look extremely easy in 2012, when he had an outstanding rookie season and was a key component on the  O-line during the entirety of the championship season. With his skill set, Osemele is a perfect fit at RT for 2014 & beyond, and the Ravens love his upside on the right side, so this is a move that could make sense for both sides.

If this scenario plays out, the next question would be, who steps in a Left Guard? Let’s take a look at a couple of the options the Ravens might consider during the offseason:

Draft Options

The Ravens definitely need to upgrade the O-Line this offseason, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them draft a couple of lineman early in the 2014 NFL Draft. If they do take a guard in rounds 2 or 3, Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson, Baylor’s Cyril Richardson and UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo are potential targets.

Projected to go anywhere from the late first to the early third round, Su’a-Filo is definitely a prospect to watch leading up to the draft. The 23-year-old measured in at 6-4 and 308 pounds at the combine and has tremendous athleticism, lateral agility and quickness on the O-Line, and more importantly, he can fit into both zone and man blocking schemes.

The Pleasant Grove, Utah native instantly made a name for himself at UCLA as a Freshman in 2009, starting all 13 games at LT while earning a (then Pac-10) conference honorable mention. Su’a-Filo then sat out for the 2010 and 2011 seasons while serving a Mormon mission in the Southern US.

Su’a-Filo made a huge impact for the Bruins after he returned in 2012, starting all 14 games at LG while earning First Team All-Pac 12 and Third Team All-American honors. The UCLA star then followed his impressive 2012 season with an outstanding 2013 campaign, earning First Team All-Pac 12 honors for the second straight year and a Second Team All-American selection, while also winning the 2013 Morris Trophy Award (Best OL in the Pac-12).

Free Agency

The Ravens could also look to upgrade the interior O-Line through free agency. With several notable offensive guards set to hit free agency, here’s a look at a couple that could draw interest from the Ravens:

  • Kansas City OG Jon Asamoah: At 6-4 and 305 pounds, the underrated Asamoah has a very solid size/athleticism combo and is solid in both run blocking and pass protection. The 25-year-old (26 in July) fifth-year pro out of Illinois also has a good amount of experience, playing in 59 games and recording 41 starts at right guard for the Chiefs from 2010-2013.
  • NY Giants OL Kevin Boothe: Turning 31 in July, the 6-5, 300-pound Boothe is a versatile,  experienced veteran that can play all three interior O-Line positions. Boothe played for the New York Giants from 2007-2013 and hits the free agent market with 105 games and 62 starts to his resume.
  • Carolina OG Travelle Wharton: Turning 33 in May, Wharton looks to have at least another solid year or two left in the tank, and would be an excellent veteran addition to the Ravens O-Line for at least 2014. After being selected in the third round out of South Carolina in the 2004 NFL Draft, Wharton proceeded to start at LG and LT for the Panthers from 2004 to 2011 and then returned to Carolina in 2013 after tearing his ACL in the 2012 preseason as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. The 6-4, 312-pound Wharton had a great comeback season in 2013 and he is still solid in run blocking and pass protection. With 111 career starts, Wharton could be just what the Ravens O-Line needs to shake off a disappointing 2013 season and get back to running the ball with authority and keeping Joe Flacco clean in 2014.

Of course, it remains to be seen what exactly the Ravens have in mind for the future of K.O. Their actions over the next several months should make it clear, however, where they see him best contributing in the future.

What do you think? Should the Ravens move Osemele back to tackle and try to pick up a guard in the draft or free agency? Or keep him at guard and look to get a tackle instead?

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Logan Quick. Bookmark the permalink.

About Logan Quick

Logan Quick
Logan Quick is a 21-year-old aspiring sports journalist from Harford County, Maryland and is looking to make a name for himself in a big way. A lifelong Ravens fan, (And O's, Capitals, Manchester City FC, too many to name!) Quick joined RSR in 2014 to chase his dream and write...more

6 Raves on “Could a Move Back to Tackle be in Osemele’s Future?

  1. Joshua on said:

    I just don’t see us re-signing Oher, even if Monroe walks. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the team is very high on ascending second-year players Wagner and Ryan Jensen. I can see a scenario where KO sticks at left guard and Wagner is given a shot to claim the starting right tackle position. I think we’ll definitely draft an offensive lineman fairly high, and the kid out of UCLA would be a great selection. What I do hope is that we re-sign Monroe, because that will give us a ton of flexibility in the first two rounds.

    • Logan Quick on said:

      I agree, if Osemele does indeed stick at Guard, I’d much rather see Wagner get a shot at the starting RT position than to bring Oher back on a overpriced contract.

  2. Boldin Raver on said:

    You an interesting question about KO. Mainly I wish we had that LG road grader that we saw in the Super Bowl run, and if they want to see him at RT, let him give it a whirl in preseason and if it plays, sweet! But last preseason against Carolina he got beat like a drum – early sign that he wasn’t right and that the O-line would struggle. So it’s wait and see … But what about center? Thought that was the main piece we need, but all I hear is guards and tackles?

  3. Cheri on said:

    I just think the back injury had a lot to do with KO ‘s play this past season.He is better then that and I really liked what I saw out of him at guard then I did sat tackle Most of the draft pundits more or less said that his game translated better inside then outside.Keep him at guard bring in someone like Eric Winstrom to battle Ricky Wagner at RT

  4. John P on said:

    Put him where he’s best suited to play. Then find someone else for the other position. We know he’s a great guard, so why try to train him differently now? Odds are he won’t excel as much, and the new guard won’t be as good as he is now.

    As far as as Oher is concerned – great kid. Awesome story. But it’s time for him to get in his boat and row out of town. The truth is that he’s NOT a quality LT. He’s “alright” as an RT, but he’s also a certifiable drive killer.

    I truly appreciate everything he’s given us, but IMO, his defining moment came in his first preseason game when he steamrolled Renaldo Wynn. If he had kept that level of intensity, there’d be no Eugene Monroe…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Hot off the street

Ravens @ Steelers Injury Report & Game Status

RAVENS GAME STATUS Out: WR Michael Campanaro (thigh); CB Jimmy Smith (foot) Questionable: TE Owen Daniels (knee); DE Chris Canty (wrist); G Marshal Yanda (knee) Probable: LB Terrell Suggs (neck)...read more

BOLD PREDICTIONS: Ravens at Steelers

This game will follow the script of the Ravens 3 previous losses, in that the Ravens offense will start slow and get themselves in an early hole. They will again play much better in the 2nd half, and ...read more

Through 8 Games, Wagner Proving Ravens Right

The Ravens may be sitting at 5-3 and in second place in the division at the moment, but my how times have changed along the offensive line - especially at the right tackle position. Many fans and m...read more

RAVENS LINKS: Can Flacco Silence Pittsburgh Again?

Can Joe Flacco silence Heinz Field again? Joe Cool has enjoyed some success in Pittsburgh with late game heroics. Jamison Hensley gives us Joe's opinion on going in to Heinz Field and playing the h...read more

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Ravens Sweep Steelers

The Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Perhaps there’s mutual respect but there’s certainly mutual disdain. The Ravens head to Pittsburgh this week, week 9 of the NFL season just ...read more

View More