The power and mobility of Ravens left offensive guard Kelechi Osemele were on full display during the playoffs when he peeled back and delivered a crushing block on veteran Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison.
It was Osemele's key block on Harrison that bailed out rookie left tackle James Hurst and provided quarterback Joe Flacco with the extra time he needed to find wide receiver Torrey Smith for an 11-yard touchdown pass in a 30-17 AFC wild-card playoff victory.
The Ravens have grown accustomed to Osemele's ability to track down and overpower defenders during the past three seasons. Now that Osemele's four-year, $3.356 million rookie contract is set to expire after this season, the former second-round draft pick is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
With no deal imminent for Osemele or Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda, according to sources, and Yanda regarded as more likely to land an expensive deal from the Ravens, Osemele could emerge as one of the top commodities in free agency next year.
Although he hasn't been named to a Pro Bowl, Osemele's body of work has established himself as one of the best young offensive linemen in the game after starting as a rookie on the Ravens' Super Bowl championship team.
"I feel really good about what I've shown," said Osemele, a 6-foot-5, 330-pound former second-round draft pick from Iowa State. "Obviously, it helps to come in here and win a Super Bowl. That's always a good thing, but, on top of that, I've had great teammates and a great coaching staff behind me.
"[Offensive line] coach [Juan] Castillo has been helping me every day, working on my craft. I came in here in the league a raw player, and, right now, I'm feeling like I'm becoming more of a technician. So, I'm feeling really good about that. I'll let my agent handle the contract, and I kind of just focus on my part."