Thursday, August 1, 2013
Is Michael Oher a Pro Bowl-caliber tackle?
By Jamison Hensley
When the Baltimore Ravens drafted Michael Oher with the 23rd overall pick in the NFL draft, the expectation was for him to become the team's starting left tackle. The fact that his life story was chronicled in a book and movie called "The Blind Side" certainly encouraged that perception.
But Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes Oher has found a home at right tackle.
“I’ve always thought Michael Oher’s potential is the sky is the limit,” Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday. “Michael Oher is a Pro Bowl tackle-type guy. We have always believed that. The fact that he can settle down on the right side now is probably something that will help him have the chance to achieve that.”
While it's debatable whether Oher can become a Pro Bowl tackle, I believe everyone can agree that right tackle is his best spot. It was proved last season.
After benching Bryant McKinnie in the 2012 regular season, the Ravens won with Oher at left tackle but he struggled at that position. Oher allowed 10 sacks (tied for third-most in the NFL) and committed nine penalties (tied for 11th among tackles), according to Pro Football Focus. When the Ravens started McKinnie at left tackle in the playoffs, Oher was much more effective on the right side, giving up just one sack in four postseason games.
If Oher truly wants to elevate his game to a Pro Bowl level, he has to play more disciplined. In his four seasons, Oher has committed 45 penalties, including 21 false starts.
Moving to right tackle is not the best move for Oher financially, especially in a contract year. Left tackles generally make more money in free agency.
Oher, though, is happy with playing right tackle.
“As long as I’m in Baltimore, I would prefer to be on the right side,” Oher told the team's official website. “I’d prefer to be a right tackle. I think I’m better over there.”