When the Ravens drafted Kelechi Osemele out of Iowa State with their second pick in the second round, they saw a, versatile, athletic lineman who could play either guard or tackle.
At first, Osemele seemed destined to play left guard as the Ravens sought a replacement for the departed Ben Grubbs. But now with the uncertainty surrounding tackle Bryant McKinnie, who has been a no-show thus far at training camp, Osemele is playing tackle, his primary position at Iowa State.
When asked shortly after he was drafted whether he is a guard or a tackle, Osemele said, I am both. I am a versatile player, have quick feet. I am aggressive. It really doesnt matter what spot I am in, I will just fill whatever void the team needs me to fill.
For now, that appears to be right tackle.
McKinnies absence hes expected back Monday, according to the Baltimore Sun has forced the Ravens to juggle the line, at least temporarily. Michael Oher moved to left tackle, leaving a void at right tackle. Enter Osemele, a 6-foot-5, 335-pounder who began training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list (back spasms) but then returned to the practice field on Friday, working with the first unit at tackle.
And although Osemele is a rookie and missed some time with the back injury, coach John Harbaugh said on Friday that, We definitely feel like he is a guy we could plug in and he can start.
Of course, if McKinnie returns and is ready to go at left tackle certainly not a given considering he has been plagued by conditioning issues in the past and his absence last week was for undisclosed reasons then Oher would likely return to right tackle. Osemele would then move back to left guard, where he would challenge Bobbie Williams and others for the starting spot.
That type of versatility could pay big dividends for Osemele and the Ravens.
We drafted him for a reason, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. We were jumping up and down when he was still on the board. So, we will just let it play out, but obviously, we think he's going to be a really good player."