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Ravens draft Iowa State lineman Kelechi Osemele

OWINGS MILLS -- Months after Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs joined the New Orleans Saints via a $36 million contract, the Baltimore Ravens acquired an imposing potential replacement.

The Ravens drafted Iowa State left offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele in the second round Friday night with the 60th overall pick with designs on having the mauling 6-foot-5, 333-pounder compete with Jah Reid for the starting left guard vacancy created by Grubbs' departure.

The Ravens will also evaluate the four-year starter at right offensive tackle, currently manned by Michael Oher, who has played left offensive tackle in the past.

The Ravens weren't thrilled with left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie's conditioning and run blocking last season, but retained him for this season by picking up a $500,000 roster bonus in March.

"I feel like I bring a lot of competitiveness and I feel like I bring a lot of physicality and aggression to the table," Osemele said during a conference call. "I just want to get in there and compete and try to fit where I may."

Osemele started 43 consecutive games, lining up for 38 of them at left tackle and another five at left guard. He was credited with 299 knockdown blocks and 49 blocks that led to touchdowns.

The Houston, Texas native bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times at the NFL scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash in 5.35 seconds. He's regarded as a powerful blocker whose technique could still use some refinement.

Osemele caught the Ravens' attention at the Senior Bowl and by how he held his own in a game against Iowa years ago where he blocked Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn..

"I think at the Senior Bowl, he was one of the better offensive linemen there," said Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said. "We had a chance to watch him all week. We saw a big, physical guy with very long arms who moves well on his feet.

"He's a talented guy, no doubt about it. We had the chance to spend some time with him at the combine. We interviewed him, and we were impressed with him."

Five picks before the Ravens selected Osemele, the Atlanta Falcons picked Wisconsin center Peter Konz.

Konz was a lineman the Ravens had under consideration if he had made it to their spot.

Osemele has extremely long arms, a 35 1/4 inch length, an 85 1/2-inch wingspan and big hands (10 3/8 inches) to engulf defenders.

He visited the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons.

Osemele is a massive, aggressive blocker with athleticism who has earned All-Big 12 honors.

The Ravens envision Osemele pushing the veterans already on the roster.

"I think left guard or right tackle, I think that we will just let those guys compete and see also who meshes better where," Harbaugh said. "You know what, it gives us competition, and we like that."

Osemele didn't visit the Ravens or work out for them after meeting with team officials in February at the combine in Indianapolis.

Osemele said he doesn't have a preference where he'll line up.

"It really doesn't matter to me, honestly," Osemele said. "At the Senior Bowl, I played a lot of guard and I dominated. Regardless of where I am, I just need to be physical like I always do."

Like the Ravens' other second-round draft pick, Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, Osemele arrives in Baltimore eager to prove that he should have been drafted higher.

"Both guys were a little bit miffed about where they were taken," Harbaugh said. "They were happy to come to Baltimore, but I think they both feel like they have something to prove."

Osemele agreed with that assessment of his mood as he heads to Baltimore.

"Yeah, that's true," Osemele said. "I'll just use that as a motivator more than anything to help fuel me when I first get in there and try to prove everybody wrong and try to prove the naysayers wrong. Hopefully, 10 years from now I'll still be there and be playing."

Reach staff writer Aaron Wilson at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.

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