The Baltimore Ravens picked up Cinderella story, Michael Oher in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. At the time, it was a smart pick, considering he was the best player available at pick number 23. Baltimore finagled their way into the pick because they saw he was the last player in the draft room and thought he would have went earlier in the round. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Ole Miss product has been a decent player for the Ravens due to his versatility; however, just because he can play left tackle does not mean he should.
Oher’s character may have been used in a movie made about him named The Blindside, but he is no Left Tackle. Sure, Oher is athletic, strong and can move his feet well, but he struggles with stunts and counters off the line on passing downs. If you take a look at the years he did start at LT, Joe Flacco could not stay off of the turf. Collectively in 2010, the Ravens Offensive line allowed 40 sacks with Oher on the left. Bryant Mckinnie took over in 2011 and the sack number went down significantly to just 31 sacks allowed; that number went back up again to 35 sacks, when Oher moved back to the blindside in 2012. The only reason Joe Flacco had time to throw in the 2012 post-season is because John Harbaugh came to his senses and started Mckinnie on the left.
Not only does Oher lack the ability to pass protect, his temper, false starts and holding flags have caused the Ravens a great deal of “real-estate”. In 2010, Oher was the second most penalized tackle in the league behind former Dallas Cowboys‘ and Pittsburgh Steelers‘ Tackle, Flozell Adams. You should realize if I am bringing up the Cowboys that there is a problem.
Oher’s lackluster pass-protection ability, combined with his temper and love for yellow laundry will be the reason he stays at right tackle or is even beat out by Kelechi Osemele; although Oher does excel at right tackle, Osemele is no slouch. I look forward to a little friendly competition for RT in training camp. Movie or not, the truth is in the gameplay and Oher just doesn’t have the height or leverage to play Left Tackle productively in the NFL.