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Ravens Have Options On Offensive Line

Posted Mar 20, 2014

If Baltimore moves Kelechi Osemele to right tackle, that opens up left guard.

Are the Ravens in the market for a right tackle with Michael Oher now in Tennessee?

They aren’t locked into it.

Improving an offensive line that struggled last year is a high priority in Baltimore, but the Ravens have more options than may be realized due to position flexibility. The Ravens could look at a tackle or guard.

Kelechi Osemele’s return from season-ending back surgery should be a huge boon for the Ravens’ offensive line. But it’s not clear exactly where he will play. Osemele could play left guard or right tackle.

Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked where he envisions Osemele during the NFL Scouting Combine.

"We have started thinking about that,” he said. “I don't think we know yet. The good thing about K.O. is he's got versatility. He gives you some options and then you can see where he best fits on the offensive line.”

Osemele started all 16 games of his rookie season at right tackle and performed well there. He got a positive grade of 3.1 from Pro Football Focus (PFF), with especially high marks for pass blocking. He allowed eight sacks in the 16 games.

He made the switch to left guard for the playoffs when Bryant McKinnie was inserted at left tackle and Michael Oher bumped to right tackle. Osemele was a star in the Super Bowl. It was his best game of the year, per PFF, and he dominated in run blocking.

But other than that game, Osemele received negative grades at left guard in Denver and in New England. His run blocking was the problem, per PFF, in each game.

Osemele started at left guard last season and said he prefers it to tackle. But he had trouble there in the early part of the year, in large part because of his lingering back injury. After the season ended, he told reporters he was willing to play wherever.

Baltimore also has last year’s fifth-round pick, Rick Wagner, guard/tackle Jah Reid and massive 6-foot-8 David Mims as options at right tackle.

The Ravens also have options on the interior offensive line.

General Manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens want to get bigger inside. Ryan Jensen, a sixth-round pick out of Colorado State-Pueblo, would provide that. Jensen and Gino Gradkowski are both listed at 6-foot-3. Jensen is at 304 pounds while Gradkowski is 300. But by the eyeball test, Jensen is bigger.

The Ravens are high on Jensen, which explains why they kept him on their active roster all season long despite never dressing him for a game. They wanted him to get the practice time in and continue his development despite not being a gameday option.

Newsome could also have been simply referring to getting bigger at left guard. With Osemele out, the Ravens relied on converted 6-foot-1 center A.Q. Shipley for much of last year. Gradkowski could also slide to guard if needed. He’s listed officially as a guard/center.

The Ravens will still likely add a piece or pieces to their offensive line. But they have options to work with on the current roster.

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