Well that was fast. No more than 24 hours after Laurent Duvernay-Tardif decided to opt out for the season, the Kansas City Chiefs made a free agent signing to replace him. The addition comes in the form of veteran guard Kelechi Osemele.
His one year deal will hardly cost the Chiefs much monetarily. Quite frankly, watching his tape from the past couple of years, it is amazing to think Osemele was still a free agent in July. His strong, physical style bruises and bullies opponents into the dirt. This is much different than the athletic movers that Andy Reid has clinged to in the past. However, that might just be a smart move. More on that later. Now, let’s dive into Osemele’s career and what kind of fit he brings to Kansas City.
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A second round selection (60th overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Iowa State product started at right tackle as a rookie with the Baltimore Ravens. Injuries moved him to left guard during their playoff run and Super Bowl XLVII win over the San Francisco 49ers. From then on, Kelechi Osemele has been a stalwart at left guard.
When his time in Baltimore came to a close, the Raiders signed him to a five year/$60 million deal in 2016. He became the missing link to that offensive line and rejuvenated an upstart offense, at the time. In his first campaign in silver and black, Osemele helped lead the Raiders back to the postseason for the first time since 2002. His level of play with the Raiders was highly regarded around the league from both opposing players and coaches. Osemele was a Pro Bowler in back to back seasons (2016, 2017) and an All Pro in 2016.
After three seasons with the Raiders, he was traded to the New York Jets last offseason. It was a messy experience for the veteran blocker. Osemele started the first three games last year, before suffering a shoulder injury. While his own doctors agreed that KO would need shoulder surgery, the Jets’ team doctors disagreed. Rightfully so, he decided to have the surgery. The ugliness from the team’s trainers, coaches and front office ultimately led to his release from the team in October.
A Win, Win Situation
From the player side of things, as long as that shoulder is healthy, Kelechi Osemele is a fearful blocker. While is strength and power are already difficult to play against, there are very few situations where Osemele won’t finish blocks through the play. With the Raiders, Osemele had quite a handful of plays where he would work lower than opposing defensive linemen and lift them up and into the ground. It was like watching a body slam over and over again to 300+ pound men, like it was nothing.
We mentioned how this style is generally different than that of interior blockers for Andy Reid before. And that might not be a bad thing. Thinking back to Stefen Wisniewski‘s play in the Super Bowl run last year, and Kelechi Osemele will bring that same style, turned up a few notches. This punishing type of blocking is an exciting fit with the Patrick Mahomes led offense. Especially, when you throw in dual threat rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has good balance, anticipation and light feet.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.