Since Reggie McKenzie arrived in Oakland in 2012, he has approached free agency with the same top priority - build the offensive line. Three of the first four offseasons under McKenzie, the most highest paid and most sought after free agent was an offensive lineman.
2012- OG Mike Brisiel
2013 - LB Nick Roach
2014 - OT Rodger Saffold (failed physical), OG/OT Austin Howard
2015 - C Rodney Hudson
This didn't go unnoticed by Kelechi Osemele. It is clear to him that the Raiders have put a premium on the big guys up front - something he said was not the case in Baltimore - and that along with some of other young talent made Oakland a very attractive option for him.
"We have a really up and coming team that was sold to me a lot," said Osemele. "Going through the roster, I kind of saw what everybody was saying. The emphasis on building the offensive line coming from a place where it was not really appreciated. I wanted to be where offensive line is a focus and it matter and they want to build that up. That was a big factor."
Certainly the big contract the Raiders offered him was a factor as well. Should he play guard this season, he will be the highest paid guard in the NFL by a wide margin. Should he play tackle, which many think he will, his salary is among the top five at the position.
This after having made Rodney Hudson the highest paid center in the NFL last offseason. Investing in the offensive line is a tried and true formula for success. And with a young gun slinger in Derek Carr back there, combined with the plan to be a team that hopes to succeed on the strength of their run game, Osemele fits right into that formula.