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Bryant McKinnie re-signing benefits Kelechi Osemele

The Baltimore Sun

Kelechi Osemele had been diligently working on his footwork preparing to play left offensive tackle, a position that probably wasn't going to be his strong suit.

Now, the Ravens' second-year offensive lineman won't have to concern himself with going back to the position where he was an All-Big 12 selection at Iowa State.

With the Super Bowl champions re-signing left tackle Bryant McKinnie to a two-year contract with a maximum value of $7 million, Osemele is set to play left guard, where he lined up during the Ravens' playoff run.

Osemele performed well at right tackle last season after being drafted in the second round as he started every game in the regular season, but he seems like a natural guard at 6 feet 5, 329 pounds with a mauler blocking style.

Before the NFL draft last month, Osemele acknowledged that he would like to see the successful line configuration from the playoffs when they allowed just six sacks in four wins.

"It would be good to have that same lineup, but things change and you have to be able to adapt," Osemele said.

And Osemele was definitely in favor of McKinnie returning.

"I'd love to have him back here," Osemele said. "He's a great asset to our team, just a powerful weapon to have especially with both of us on the same side."

Now, Osemele can get comfortable at left guard with McKinnie lining up at left tackle next to him, as he did during the Super Bowl. With Michael Oher back at right tackle and Pro Bowl lineman Marshal Yanda entrenched at right guard, the lone change to the offensive line is new center Gino Gradkowski.

Gradkowski replaces six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, who retired.

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