Ravens draft Iowa State lineman Kelechi Osemele

NFL Draft Ravens draft Iowa State lineman Kelechi Osemele

Posted in NFL Draft
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Months after Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs joined the New
Orleans Saints via a $36 million contract, the Baltimore Ravens acquired an
imposing potential replacement.

The Ravens drafted Iowa State left offensive tackle Kelechi
Osemele in the second round Friday night with the 60th overall pick with
designs on having the mauling 6-foot-5, 333-pounder compete with Jah Reid for
the starting left guard vacancy created by Grubbs’ departure.

The Ravens will also evaluate the four-year starter at right
offensive tackle, currently manned by Michael Oher, who has played left
offensive tackle in the past.

The Ravens weren’t thrilled with left offensive tackle Bryant
McKinnie’s conditioning and run blocking last season, but retained him for this
season by picking up a $500,000 roster bonus in March.

"I feel like I bring a lot of competitiveness and I feel like
I bring a lot of physicality and aggression to the table," Osemele said
during a conference call. "I just want to get in there and compete and try
to fit where I may."

Osemele started 43 consecutive games, lining up for 38 of them at
left tackle and another five at left guard. He was credited with 299 knockdown
blocks and 49 blocks that led to touchdowns.

The Houston, Texas native bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times at the
NFL scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash in 5.35 seconds. He’s regarded
as a powerful blocker whose technique could still use some refinement.

Osemele caught the Ravens’ attention at the Senior Bowl and by how
he held his own in a game against Iowa years ago where he blocked Tampa Bay
Buccaneers defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn..

"I think at the Senior Bowl, he was one of the better
offensive linemen there," said Ravens director of player personnel Eric
DeCosta said. "We had a chance to watch him all week. We saw a big,
physical guy with very long arms who moves well on his feet.

"He’s a talented guy, no doubt about it. We had the chance to
spend some time with him at the combine. We interviewed him, and we were
impressed with him."

Five picks before the Ravens selected Osemele, the Atlanta Falcons
picked Wisconsin center Peter Konz.

Konz was a lineman the Ravens had under consideration if he had made
it to their spot.

Osemele has extremely long arms, a 35 1/4 inch length, an 85
1/2-inch wingspan and big hands (10 3/8 inches) to engulf defenders.

He visited the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta

Osemele is a massive, aggressive blocker with athleticism who has
earned All-Big 12 honors.

The Ravens envision Osemele pushing the veterans already on the

"I think left guard or right tackle, I think that we will
just let those guys compete and see also who meshes better where," Harbaugh
said. "You know what, it gives us competition, and we like that."

Osemele didn’t visit the Ravens or work out for them after meeting
with team officials in February at the combine in Indianapolis.

Osemele said he doesn’t have a preference where he’ll line up.

"It really doesn’t matter to me, honestly," Osemele
said. "At the Senior Bowl, I played a lot of guard and I dominated.
Regardless of where I am, I just need to be physical like I always do."

Like the Ravens’ other second-round draft pick, Alabama outside
linebacker Courtney Upshaw, Osemele arrives in Baltimore eager to prove that he
should have been drafted higher.

"Both guys were a little bit miffed about where they were
taken," Harbaugh said. "They were happy to come to Baltimore, but I
think they both feel like they have something to prove."

Osemele agreed with that assessment of his mood as he heads to

"Yeah, that’s true," Osemele said. "I’ll just use
that as a motivator more than anything to help fuel me when I first get in there
and try to prove everybody wrong and try to prove the naysayers wrong.
Hopefully, 10 years from now I’ll still be there and be playing."

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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