OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Needing to address their most pressing need, the Baltimore Ravens used their second choice of the second round to select offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele.
The Iowa State tackle possesses massive size at 6-foot-5 and 333 pounds and will likely be asked to step inside to compete with second-year lineman Jah Reid for the vacant left guard position left behind by Ben Grubbs, who signed with the New Orleans Saints earlier in the offseason.
“At the Senior Bowl, he was one of the better offensive lineman that we had a chance to watch all week,” director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. “We saw a big, physical guy with very, very long arms who moves well on his feet. [He is] strong.”
Osemele played left tackle for most of his collegiate career, starting his last 43 games and seeing action in 49 contests for the Cyclones. He spent his first varsity season at left guard before shifting outside for his sophomore season.
The Ravens missed the opportunity to draft Wisconsin center Peter Konz, who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 23rd pick of the second round. While Osemele will certainly provide a realistic option guard for 2012 as well as a long-term possibility at the tackle position, Baltimore is still without an heir apparent to veteran Matt Birk at the center position.
“It really doesn’t matter to me, honestly,” said Osemele when asked about his preference of playing guard or tackle. “At the Senior Bowl, I played a lot of guard, and I dominated, so regardless of where I am, I just need to be physical like I always do.”
When asked where he envisioned Osemele fitting on the Baltimore offensive line, head coach Harbaugh acknowledged the competition he would provide to Reid at left guard but also mentioned the possibility of him competing at the right tackle position, an interesting revelation with Michael Oher assumed to be entrenched at that spot. Harbaugh also mentioned the competition it would provide at the left tackle position with Bryant McKinnie, who is entering the final year of his contract.
“I think that we will just let those guys compete and see also who meshes better where,” Harbaugh said. “It gives us some competition, and we like that.”
Using a long reach and powerful hands, Osemele was named a first-team All-American by The NFL Draft Report and Sports Illustrated.
Listen to Kelechi Osemele’s conference call with the Baltimore media here.
Catch Osemele’s interview with WNST.net’s Glenn Clark in February here.
Check out Osemele’s Wikipedia profile here.