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The Ravens upgraded their offensive line in a big way – literally.
Baltimorehad a couple players at positions of need remaining on the board that they liked at No. 60. The higher-ranked of the two was Iowa St. guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele.
So General Manager Ozzie Newsome stayed true to his board and pulled the trigger.
What Baltimore got is a massive, physical player who has a very high ceiling because of his outstanding physical traits.
The offensive lineman many pundits predicted for the Ravens, center Peter Konz, was taken by the Atlanta Falcons five picks before Baltimore.
Osemele will immediately contend for the starting spot at right tackle and particularly left guard after Ben Grubbs’ departure via free agency and right tackle.
In 43 consecutive starts, Osemele played 38 games at left tackle and five at left guard. He recorded 299 knockdowns and posted 49 touchdown-resulting blocks.
“I think at the Senior Bowl, he was one of the better offensive linemen there,” Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta said. “We had an opportunity to watch him all week. We saw a big, physical guy with very, very long arms who moves well on his feet. He’s strong.”
Osemele stands in at 6-foot-5, 333 pounds. He has some of the longest arms of anyone in the draft (35 1/4–inch reach), a wingspan of 85 ½ inches and huge 10 3/8-inch hands. Those arms and hands make him difficult to escape.
He is very strong (32 bench press reps at the combine), with a powerful base to anchor.
But Osemele said his temperament is what makes him stand out.
“I feel like I bring a lot of competitiveness and physicality and aggressiveness to this team,” Osemele said. “I just want to get in there and compete from Day 1 and try to fit where I may. I’ll let the [chips] fall where they may and try to make this team better.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that Osemele will compete with Jah Reid, the currently penciled-in left guard. He’ll also push Michael Oher at right tackle. Oher could swing to left tackle.
“You know what? It gives us some competition and we like that,” Harbaugh said.
While DeCosta said he had his eye on the four-year starter for some time, Osemele stood out in the scouting process at the Senior Bowl.
“I played a lot of guard at the Senior Bowl and I dominated,” Osemele said. “So regardless of where I am [guard or tackle], I’ll be physical like I always am.”
The Ravens interviewed the man they have already nicknamed “K.O.” at the combine. They did not host him for an official visit at the team facility and Baltimore did not go to Iowa State to work him out.
“He’s a talented guy, no doubt about it,” DeCosta said. “We interviewed him and we were impressed with him.”