Now is the time of year when everyone likes to look out across the NFL and try and pick out who will be the next great player at one position or another. When I look out at the Ravens roster trying to pick a player, one name sticks out to me like a sore thumb. That name is KO, Kelechi Osemele.
Kelechi is having a really good year. He started the year by moving from right tackle to left guard for the Ravens playoff run. Many inside the Ravens organization give KO a big part of the credit for the turnaround of the Ravens offense. His play at right tackle was solid, but at left guard he was playing at an all world level. for that four game stretch he played better than former Raven Ben Grubbs has ever played in his career. In a word, he was flawless. 0 sacks allowed, a mauler in the run game, the complete package.
Kelechi is continually credited as being an incredibly intelligent lineman. He has great quickness, both in a box and in space as a pass and run blocker. He isn’t incredibly strong, but thanks to his excellent footwork he doesn’t have to be. For the record, Joe Thomas isn’t much above average in terms of pure strength and he is easily the best tackle in the league. strength is over-rated.
The question that begs answering is, if KO is so good, why did the Ravens have a shot to get him in the late second round last year? two answers. first off there was a lot of over-rated offensive line talent last year that drove the under-rated Osemele down the board(think Reilly Reiff, Cordy Glenn etc.). The second answer is the more complicated and questionable part. KOs biggest question, despite playing with a nice nasty streak at Iowa St., was whether or not he had a nasty mean side to him because he was raised in a household without a male influence. It is silly and sexist, but seriously, some teams reportedly had him off their board because of it. Dumb move.
Kelechi is well on his way to being a really great player. He is my run-away favorite pick for who the next great breakout player will be for the Ravens.