Potential Breakout Players: G Kelechi OsemelePosted on June 19, 2014 by Will Grabill
Kelechi Osemele Player Profile:
Measurables: 6' 5" 333 lbs 24 years old
Sacks Allowed: 1
Pro Football Focus (PFF) Grade: -4.9
After having the worst offensive line in the NFL, the Ravens front office has made numerous moves to improve this unit. Left tackle Eugene Monroe was resigned to a five year deal, and the Ravens traded their 2015 5th round draft pick for Buccaneers center Jeremy Zuttah. 3 time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda is still the stronghold of the offensive line at right guard, but even he could stand to improve on a subpar 2013 campaign. Right tackle is the biggest hole on the line after the departure of former first round pick Michael Oher, and Ricky Wagner, James Hurst, and Ryan Jensen will be the main competitors in a heated battle for that starting spot. Right now, Osemele's play has warranted a stay at left guard where he has performed admirably when healthy. Here are the other guards on the roster who would fill in for Osemele if his back injury flared up or he was moved out to tackle.
A.Q. Shipley: After totaling a -19.6 PFF grade in his limited duty last season, Shipley would not be the ideal replacement at guard. Though his performance was very poor after filling in at guard for the injured Osemele, he would bring experience and some versatility as he can also play center.
Will Rackley: A fourth year man from Lehigh, Rackley signed with the Ravens after finishing last season with the Jaguars on Injured Reserve with a concussion. He started 25 games over 3 season with the Jags, missing the entire 2012 season with a foot injury. He was statistically one of the worst guards last season, but the former 3rd round pick will provide nice depth and starting experience.
John Urschel: The Ravens selected Urschel in the 5th round of this years draft, and everyone quickly learned about the amazing accomplishments of the smartest player in the draft. You can read his published paper "Instabilities of the Sun-Jupiter-Asteroid Three Body Problem" here. His best position may be at center, but he is limited to a backup role at this point.
Notable 2012 NFL Draft Offensive Lineman:
Matt Kalil: Since the Vikings took him with the 4th pick in the draft, he has performed admirably at left tackle and helped Adrian Peterson to record setting rushing performances.
Cordy Glenn: Taken just 19 picks before Osemele, Glenn has provided the Bills with solid play and very promising upside at tackle.
With a strong performance this season Kelechi Osemele should be considered one of the best offensive lineman to come out of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Osemele had a promising rookie campaign at right tackle, but when moved to left guard for the playoffs, he was stellar. In the Ravens Super Bowl victory he posted the 2nd highest PFF grade, only lower than MVP Joe Flacco. He has earned rave reviews this offseason for his conditioning and intensity during voluntary offseason workouts. ESPN called him "the most impressive player on the field", and head coach John Harbaugh said Osemele "jumped out" to him. Harbaugh also said that he likes the Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele combo on the left side of the line. When healthy, Osemele is an elite performer and he should have a chance to showcase his talents and lead the Ravens to a rebound from their uncharacteristically bad offensive line play.
To fuel some optimism for the Ravens 2014 offensive line, I will leave you with this very telling stat.
Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele only played 2 games together, and in the 2nd game their PFF grades are as follows:
Marshal Yanda: +3.9
If that game is any indication, the Ravens offensive line, and Kelechi Osemele, is primed for a huge breakout season.