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Philadelphia Stars Rebuilding the Offensive Line, One Piece at a Time

The Philadelphia Stars have signed another offensive lineman to try and close the flood gates that are the Stars current offensive line. In just 5 games, Case Cookus has been sacked 23 times, just shy of 5 sacks PER GAME. This is by far one of the worst performances by an offensive line I’ve ever witnessed. Khalil Keith come on down…it’s your turn to see if you can stop the pass rush.

Not only has the passing game been slowed down by the lack of protection, but the Philadelphia Stars currently have the least rushing attempts per game, with 18.2, producing just 262 yards in 5 games. This is barely over 50 yards per game and both marks are the worst in the league. The worst part is they’re averaging just 2.9 yards per carry, less than half the Generals’ league leading average of 6.0 yards per carry. 

Kahlil Keith, Guard, Baylor

Khalil Keith, offensive line

Kalil Keith is a career guard/tackle for Baylor, and graduated as a sixth year senior in 2022. Before he attended Baylor Keith was graded as the 53rd best offensive line prospect in the nation. 

He arrived at Baylor, and despite his solid high school career, he was asked to redshirt for the 2017 season. In 2018 he saw his first playing time, appearing in just 6 games but his playing time was trending the right direction. In 2019 he would play in all 14 games that season, starting 5 games at left guard. 

In 2020 Baylor was able to play nine games. Keith again appeared in every game adding four more starts at left guard. Bringing him to 9 starts at the position so far. As a redshirt senior in 2021, Keith played in 12 games starting the last 6 games of the year for Baylor. More importantly per, Keith graded out at a 91.7 in 2021 a career high for him in college. 

He chose to return for 2022 and exhaust his eligibility which I believe was the right decision for him with just 15 starts under his belt. His final collegiate season, Keith played in 6 games, starting 5. During his final season he played exactly the same amount of snaps pass blocking as he did run blocking. Despite this balance he was a much better pass blocker than run blocker. He graded out 81.8 in the passing game and 59.2 in the run game for a cumulative grade of 67.7. If he can solidify his run blocking abilities he looks like he could be a quality player. These numbers came at right tackle, but the majority of his experience came at left guard. 

Athletic Traits

Kalil Keith

6’5 321 pounds

5.15 40-yard dash 

26 inch vertical 

26 reps on the bench press

Keith is an interesting player because he can play both guard and tackle, and he’s played left or right side with solid results. Rated as the 88th prospect coming out of college he was expected to go undrafted. Playing in a total of 37 games, and over 1,699 snaps there is room for development, given that this will be his true rookie season, having graduated following Baylor’s 2022 season, and declared for the 2023 NFL draft.

He was graded by three different outlets.

ESPN    77%

24/7 Sports 87%

Rivals  90% 

Keith went undrafted in the NFL, but received an invite to the New York Giants mini-camp, leaving without a contract. Keith will head to the USFL, and continue his development in an effort to improve his chances to land on an NFL roster for the 2023 season.

Room to Develop 

This shows the potential he has at the next level, because he is still so raw. Even though he played in 37 games, only 19 of those games were starts. One thing I believe that held Keith back in his development was the four different offensive line coaches he had during his collegiate career. 

In 2017 former NFL coach George DeLeone was hired under Matt Rhule. This arrangement lasted just one season, as DeLeone moved into a consultation role in 2018, staying until the coaching change in 2020. 

In 2018 it was former Baylor quarterback Shawn Bell who had never served specifically as an offensive line coach, and had spent most of his coaching career at the high school level. He lasted two seasons in this position with DeLeone’s help. 

In 2020 it was Joe Wickline, former Texas, and West Virginia offensive coordinator who stepped in to oversee the offensive line. Having been out of coaching for a season after four seasons and a demotion at West Virginia, Wickline joined Baylor in hopes of helping build a quality position group. With 26 years of experience overseeing offensive lines at the collegiate level he appeared to be the right man for the job. He was the first offensive line coach hired by Dave Aranda who also got hired in 2020. This partnership was short lived as Wickline did not return in 2021 and hasn’t officially coached anywhere since. 

Hired in 2021 Eric Mateos former BYU offensive line coach, was brought in to teach his wide zone scheme. Working under coach Eric Mateos in 2022 Baylor put up the best rushing game in the Big 12, and the season will live on in school history as the 7th most rushing touchdowns in school history with 34. 

Where Does He Fit? 

Given his performance in college when called on, and the coaching he received to this point I believe Keith will be a valuable addition to this offensive line, and I would expect we see him playing on the right side of the line. Shamarious Gilmore has been one of our best players on the line so far at left guard. We also just brought in Left tackle Antonio Garcia. Meanwhile when Garcia came in, Blake Camper slid over to right tackle, and Jacob Burton stayed at right guard. These are your weak points now on the offensive line. 

With the injury to Tristen Taylor a week ago, and the poor play of Camper at left tackle I would consider inserting Keith at right tackle early on and keeping Camper as my swing tackle and emergency option at guard if needed. His performance has left a lot to be desired, and he needs to re-earn the ability to start. Even if it means moving inside to guard. 

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