Made most famous by his role as the main character in Michael Lewis' best-selling novel and subsequent hit movie "The Blind Side," former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Tennessee Titans on Friday evening, according to several media reports. The deal includes $9.5 million guaranteed, which is a bit of a curiosity considering the fact that Oher regressed as a player in 2013 -- and he didn't ever really live up to the Ravens' first-round selection in 2009.
Oher ranked 68th out of 76 qualifying tackles in Pro Football Focus' grading for the 2013 season, and he allowed eight sacks, seven hits and 42 quarterback hurries -- all at right tackle. Baltimore tried him at primarily left tackle the year before, and he allowed 11 sacks, nine hits and 32 hurries. HIs best season was actually his rookie campaign, when he allowed five sacks, six hits, and 21 hurries. Unfortunately, and as the Ravens became more of a passing team, it's been downhill from there.
To the general public who may not care about such things, Oher is the young man who grew up in crushing poverty. Born in Memphis Tennessee as one of twelve children to his mother (an alcoholic and crack cocaine addict), Oher's father spent stretches of time in prison. There were times when Oher was essentially homeless as he grew up. But as he filled out and started excelling at football, he was helped by many people, including Tony Henderson, an auto mechanic who took him in from time to time, and Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, the couple who eventually adopted him after meeting him at Briarcrest Christian School.
Oher turned himself into a major national recruit, turning down offers from several prominent schools to play at Mississippi, the Tuohys' alma mater. There, he became a first-team All-American at left tackle, and the Ravens took him high in the 2009 draft.
In Tennessee, Oher will most likely replace veteran David Stewart at right tackle. Grade: C. This is a strange move. In Jake Locker, the Titans have a quarterback who doesn't deal well with pressure -- especially pressure right in his face -- and one wonders exactly what they see on tape that leads them to believe that Oher is the answer when it comes to protecting Locker's front side. Oher should at least be a powerful run blocker, but his relative lack of technique gets in the way at the NFL level, and he's got a lumbering gait as a pure pass-blocker. This seems to be a mistake, unless the Titans know something we don't.