A good fit for the Dirty Birds?
Welcome back to my weekly article “From the Birds Nest.” This week we will be focusing on Iowa State G/T Kelechi Osemele. If you read my Falcons mock draft last week then that name should be very familiar.
The first thing you notice when you see Kelechi Osemele is Kelechi Osemele. He is a mountain of a man at 6’5 335 lbs, and don’t let his size trick you into thinking he’s not an athlete, because that notion is completely false. Osemele moves extremely well for a man of his size, so well that he was plaing LT and doing a great job at Iowa State. However, in the pros he’s more likely to kick inside or over to right tackle. Osemele has good footwork, about as good as you could ask for if you’re looking at him as a guard, but he still has some work to do if you’re looking at him as a tackle.
Going into his senior year Osemele worked a lot on his technique and as such he now bends a lot more and plays with better leverage then he previously did, which is important for taller players like him. Overall, athletically he moves extremely well for a man his size. He is quick and agile enough to pull and can reach the second level quickly.
As you might expect for someone his size his biggest strength is well his strength. Once Osemele gets his hands on you it’s hard to get away from him. He can stifle pretty much any bull rush as he is great at resetting after the initial punch and driving the defender back in the pass game. In the run game he is a bulldozer, once he gets to the second level he’s going to pancake some people. At the next level as a guard he could be deadly when pulling as he can just throw DBs out of the way and put LBs and safeties on the seat of their pants. Overall he has elite power and strength that any NFL coach would love for their future guard to possess.
Scheme wise he can play and excel in both a man and zone scheme as a guard. He might have trouble in a zone scheme as a tackle, but he is athletic and strong enough to overcome that and potentially develop into a top RT. If you’re looking at him as a guard then scheme shouldn’t be an issue, if you’re looking at him as a tackle then it could be a little bit of a stumbling block, but nothing he can’t overcome.
Osemele’s main weaknesses were dealing with 3-4 OLBs who have the speed to blow by him at LT at college level and RT in the NFL. That won’t be an issue if he is a guard. There are also rumors that he lacked motivation at times during his tenure at Iowa State, this could be a red flag for many teams, as we have seen guys like Andre Smith backfire or take a bit to develop due to lackadaisical work attitudes. Another concern for teams would be Osemele’s nagging ankle problems. They haven’t resulted in anything serious to date but he keeps having them flare up which could be a bad sign for someone his size. For these reasons many have him slotted as a second rounder, but the talent is there to be a top ten guard in the NFL.
For the divison, only two teams could really use him now, and that would be Carolina and Atlanta. Both New Orleans and Tampa Bay fulfilled their guard issues in free agency. Osemele would be a great fit for both teams due to their power running games, both Johnathan Stewart and Michael Turner would benefit greatly from having a mountain such as Osemele leading the way for them. I’m also sure Cam Newton and Matt Ryan wouldn’t be a bit upset at the idea of having Osemele shore up the pocket either. Osemele would be a great pick for Atlanta if he’s available and one Thomas Dimitroff would pull the trigger on quickly in my opinion.
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