Osemele Over Oher At Left Tackle?

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome gave a clue to the offensive line questions that the Ravens face in 2013.

The Baltimore Ravens have been trying to develop Michael Oher into a starting NFL left tackle ever since they drafted him in the first round in 2009. Heading into last season it was apparent to most fans that Oher was a much better right tackle and simply could not translate into an NFL caliber left tackle. Never the less the Ravens went on with their experiment as veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie showed up to training camp over weight and out of shape again.

As Oher moved back from right to left the Ravens showed tremendous confidence in rookie Kelechi Osemele by letting him start the season at right tackle in his rookie year. Osemele had a few growing pains but played an excellent right tackle for Baltimore throughout the season. McKinnie on the other hand seemed to have slipped into the infamous "Harbaugh dog house" as he would only see the field in "jumbo packages" during the regular season. However, when the Ravens reached the post season, they showed everyone what their best offensive line looks like. Baltimore re-inserted McKinnie at left tackle, moved Oher back to right tackle and moved Osemele to left guard with Matt Birk at center and Marshal Yanda at right guard.

This proved to be the right move as the offensive line showed their best performances of the season in the playoffs and quarterback Joe Flacco went on to have one of the best post seasons in NFL history. Flacco threw for 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions and won his first Super Bowl. Osemele showed that he can also be a Pro Bowl caliber guard as well as above average right tackle in the NFL. Michael Oher again showed that he is an excellent right tackle as opposed to a below average left tackle.

It seems that the Ravens have finally given up on the Oher on the blind side project as well. General Manager Ozzie Newsome spoke at his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday. According to NFL.com "Around The League" writer Chris Wesseling, when asked about the possibility of Bryant McKinnie returning to the Ravens, Newsome said that the team is having "good dialogue" with Bryant and they are "leaving the door open to him starting at left tackle week one". Newsome also added that if the Ravens were to play tomorrow that it would be Osemele starting at left tackle and not Oher. This should come to a surprise to many Ravens fans as most assume that, if the Ravens were not to re-sign McKinnie, it would be Oher again getting the reps at left tackle.

Of course there is still much time before the start of the season and the Ravens still have to go through the draft and the second wave of free agents that will come as teams trim their rosters during training camp. Many things can and will change throughout this process. However, if the Ravens do not sign McKinnie or bring in any day one starters via the draft or free agency, it appears the offensive line would look something like this; from left to right, Kelechi Osemele, Jah Ried, Gino Gradkowski, Marshal Yanda and Michael Oher.

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