One of the reasons the Oakland Raiders have emerged as a buzzy team ahead of next season is the play of young quarterback Derek Carr.
Protecting their most important investment is paramount, one reason Oakland handed a bundle of cash to mountainous guard Kelechi Osemele in free agency.
At 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, Osemele, the former Raven, gives the Raiders a massive presence alongside center Rodney Hudson and fellow guard Gabe Jackson. Carr had no idea how truly large Osemele was, though, until they encountered each other at the team's complex.
"The first time I saw that guy, I couldn't believe how big he was, not just how big he was because all offensive linemen are big, but that guy is jacked," Carr said this week, per Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area. "You could (tell) that he's not just a big guy. He's cut, he's lean. It's just like, 'You weigh what? And you look like that?' It's unreal. The guy is a freak of nature."
After adding Osemele and re-signing bookend Donald Penn, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has quietly assembled one of the NFL's top offensive lines.
Whether Oakland can follow through on all the hype is another story, but the Raiders have done their part to add pieces around Carr. This would have sounded like the words of a drifting lunatic two years ago, but the Silver and Black have a legitimate shot to win the AFC West.