With training camp in Owings Mills, MD coming to a close and the Ravens shifting to a more normal practice schedule, John Harbaugh has had the chance to evaluate the talent on his roster and see what he will be working with when the Ravens open their season Monday, Sept. 10 in Cincinnati.
Concerns with the pass-rush have mounted in recent weeks, as both Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones picked up 100-yard receiving games on just a few series against what is thought to be an excellent secondary.
These concerns are justified, and Baltimore is hoping its stable of outside linebacker and defensive end types like Paul Kruger, Courtney Upshaw, Sergio Kindle and Albert McClellan can get after the quarterback without the aid of Terrell Suggs.
Kruger has had an excellent preseason and looks to be the best linebacker on the team outside of Ray Lewis.
Upshaw has been good as well, but is having expected troubles adapting to the speed of the game and making consistent plays.
McClellan and former second-round pick Sergio Kindle have drawn praise from Coach Harbaugh, but there’s one Ravens rookie who is not scared of any of these four guys.
That would be this year’s second-round pick by the Ravens, Kelechi Osemele.
Osemele, or KO, as has been his nickname in camp, was taken with the No. 60 overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Iowa State. He has been impressive thus far, and though many believed the college left tackle could only play right tackle in the NFL, his success at the position right off the bat is still a positive.
The most available starting spot on the Ravens O-line is at left guard, so many thought the selection of Osemele was more talent-based than need-based. Nevertheless, Osemele is working at the unoccupied left guard spot as well as right tackle, and in turn, proving his versatility to Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens' coaching staff.
Outside of the ineffectiveness of the pass-rush and the mental state of Billy Cundiff, durability and cohesiveness along the offensive line is the biggest concern for the Ravens heading into the season.
Here are five things that the strong play of Osemele proves about the team and/or brings to the effectiveness of the Ravens O-line.