Analysis

Kelechi Osemele proves vital to Chiefs rushing attack success

Kelechi Osemele was added to help strengthen a Chiefs offensive line that was left a bit short with the departure of the Doctor, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who stayed behind in his native Canada to help fight the COVID-19 virus. But Osemele is more than just a cheap replacement, as he proved last Thursday. Osemele brought some serious beef to an offensive line that last year had struggled to run the ball with any consistency. 

Kelechi Osemele, the 31 year old who had been released by the Jets last October following a dispute with the team, was singed by the Chiefs in 2020 on a one-year, $2 million contract. This move could put Veach in the conversation for Executive of the Year if Osemele continues putting together a season like he did Thursday night, allowing rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to rush for 138 yards on 25 carries, including a 27 yard TD scamper. This adds another element that opposing defenders have to worry about when facing the vaunted Chiefs offense. Last year, the Chiefs rushing attack was by far the lowest ranked part of their offense, ending the season at a measly 16thin rushing efficiency. This year it looks like the Chiefs finally have a feature running back, with the hogs up front providing him with plenty of lanes to run through. 

This isn’t Osemele’s first brush with success however. After being selected in the 2ndround by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Iowa State, Osemele was a rookie starter on the team’s run to become Super Bowl XLVII champions. He also is a 2 time Pro Bowl selection, and on the first team All-Pro in 2016. Osemele has been honing his blocking chops for awhile. The fact that he was still on the market when he was signed is shocking with a resume like that. Maybe other teams thought he was still hurt, or that he was over the hill? At only 31, though, he still has a lot of tread left on those tires, as he showed on Thursday night, where Pro Football Focus gave him the third most positively graded run blocks he’s ever had in a single game. So no, Osemele is not over the hill, nor is he still injured. He is an absolute horse up front that Clyde Edwards-Helaire can ride all the way to the end zone numerous times this season. 

The Chiefs finally have a rushing game to pair with the air it out passing attack on offense, preventing defenses from vacating the box up front unless they want to get gashed on the ground. This will inevitably open up even more opportunities for deep passes as teams will have to stack the box to stop the rushing attack, giving our elite speed at receiver the one-on-one matchups they can exploit for deep gains. This ground game is powered by the Kelechi Osemele signing, and he is proving vital to the Chiefs rushing attack this season.

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