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Kelechi Osemele: 'I'm going to have a substantial role'

It's unlikely that Ravens second-round pick Kelechi Osemele will become a fixture on the bench this season, especially not after his impressive preseason performance.

Osemele started all four preseason games, lining up at right tackle twice and left guard twice and held his own.

He's arguably one of the Ravens' top five blockers, but hasn't won a permanent starting job yet. That day may be coming, though.

"The feeling that I'm getting is that I'm going to pretty much have a substantial role as far as how my preseason went," Osemele said. "I'm not really sure how things are going to go as far as starting or at what point, but it feels like I'll have a pretty substantial role as far as what my coaches have been saying."

Osemele has consistently drawn praise from the coaching staff for his powerful hand punch, quick feet and his intensity.

A mature rookie, the 6-foot-5, 335-pound former All-Big 12 selection from Iowa State has played several positions during the preseason and expects that to continue into the regular season.

With Bryant McKinnie regaining his left tackle job, which sent Michael Oher back to right tackle, the most likely opportunity for Osemele is at left guard.

That spot is currently occupied by veteran Bobbie Williams, who has dealt with swelling in his surgically-repaired right ankle throughout the preseason because of the breaking up of scar tissue.

"I'm pretty sure I'll get moved around a little, probably just for depth reasons and for experience reasons just because they want me to be versatile," Osemele said. "As the season progresses and we kind of know our guys, then I'll probably be at one spot or the other."

Osemele said he doesn't have a preference for where he lines up after primarily playing left tackle in college and allowing one career sack, but is enjoying playing guard.

The only spot Osemele hasn't played at all is center, seeing limited action at left tackle in practice.

"I haven't gotten any reps at center," he said. "I've never actually snapped the ball before. I hope to keep it that way."

awilson@baltsun.com

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