Found May 01, 2012 on
As the old adage says, the game of football is won in the trenches. And in the past few years, as the Bengals have improved their drafts, they have done a better job of selecting those trench warriors who move earth and make the skill players we like look good.
Yesterday I looked through the guys currently on the roster on the defensive line, the pivot point of the team. Today I want to hop sides of the ball and look at the guys on the offensive line.
While the O-line still isn’t as deep as the D-line is, the Bengals made several moves to improve themselves from the group that walked off of the field in Houston back in January.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE. The Bengals typically keep four OTs. They currently have five on the roster, plus any pending UDFAs.
- Andrew Whitworth: had a small step back in 2011, but still the anchor of the line.
- Andre Smith: made a nice step forward in his third season first full season on the field without injury, but he needs to improve again if he wants to land another contract.
- Anthony Collins: the perennial backup has starter quality. We will all be glad that the Bengals got him back if Whit or Andre misses time with an injury.
- Dennis Roland: will never be a starter, but a decent fill-in/spot play guy.
- Matthew O’Donnell: a huge (6′ 9″ tall, 340 lb) guy who will have to push his way past Roland to avoid another season on the practice squad.
CENTER. The Bengals keep just one, asking one of the guards to be prepped as the backup center.
- Kyle Cook: he isn’t Rich Braham, but you have to be impressed with what the Bengals have gotten out of a guy who was a UDFA at one point.
OFFENSIVE GUARD. The Bengals typically keep four OGs. They currently have five on the roster, plus any pending UDFAs.
- Kevin Zeitler: the more I read about this kid, the more I like him. Big Bobbie’s successor should be a contributor to this team for a long, long time.
- Travelle Wharton: should be better than his 2011 PFF rating. (Playing in front of an unconventional QB like Cam Newton skewed his grades.) Definitely an upgrade from Nate Livings.
- Jacob Bell: not exactly the veteran acquisition fans were hoping for, but the coaches seem to think there is something left in his tank. Geez, I hope they are right, because I see more of a mess than a mass.
- Clint Boling: the selection of Zeitler changes the trajectory of Boling’s career for the next few years from projected starter to back up.
- Otis Hudson: the 5th round pick did not make it into a game last year. He has to beat out Bell if he wants to avoid the practice squad.
At first glance, this group does not stand out as dominant unit on paper. But we need to see what Wharton and Zeitler can do to improve the running game. With a little more punch from the line and a little more pop from the RBs (anyone else noticed that Cedric is still unsigned?), they could be just good enough.
Paul Alexander and Jay Gruden have to field their best 5 guys every game, no matter who they are. If Andre Smith hasn’t taken another big step forward by the end of camp, they cannot be reluctant to start Collins instead. Bell cannot make the squad simply because he is a veteran. They need a clear strategy and the guys that best implement that strategy. If they do, we will all be happy with the results.
BEST OF MAXIM
What a draft by the Cincinnati Bengals! By most accounts from some of the bigger “draft experts” around the league, the Bengals had one of, IF NOT, the best drafts in all of football. Timm couldn’t make it this week so filling in for us is Sean O’Donnell from StripeHype.com and helping us break down the draft is Shane P. Hallam from DraftCountdown.com.
In this week’s show...
When do we start talking about the Bengals in the same breath as other top level teams on draft day, or do we need to see them compete for another year or two before we make that leap?
Here is my 2012 Cincinnati Bengals Draft Grade.
First you get a physical, potential number one cornerback in Dre Kirkpatrick, who will come in and compete right away for the position. Dre was the...
According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, there’s a good chance that Cincinnati Bengals rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick could end up starting at left corner right away.
Everything will depend on whether or not the Bengals are willing to pay Clements $5.5 million in 2012. If they feel like Kirkpatrick can start as a rookie, Clements could be cut before June 1st.
Geoff Hobson recently began an article summarizing the draft with a poignant little story.
Even before the Bengals started picking in the second round on Friday night, retiring Bengals director of football operations Jim Lippincott looked at the board and said to no one in particular, “Good luck cutting this team.”
As much as it can pain me to agree with Jim Lippincott, he is...
17. CB Dre Kirkpatrick BI liked Kirkpatrick a little better at 21 for the Bengals (26th on my board) and I’m not sure any team from 18-20 would have taken him and if they had, that’s not too bad because this was a very, very deep cornerback class. This isn’t a terrible pick, however, because it at least fills a need.27. G Kevin Zeitler C-I really don’t like this pick. There’s...
Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu slipped to the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Sanu may lack speed, but the Rutgers standout displays soft and reliable hands, sharp route-running skills with the toughness to go after the ball in traffic. And should serve as an excellent wingman for stud A.J. Green in Cincinnati. Solid fantasy appeal here as a...
You know the Bengals have some questions at Wide Receiver. You also knew they were going to address that at some point in the draft. The Bengals went out and got a great possession receiver in Mohamed Sanu. What this guy also brings to the table is the ability to decleate guys when making blocks for the offense. Watch the video below, for every catch there is a shot of Sanu laying...
After looking at the offensive and defensive lines, it is time to look at the most important position on the field: Quarterback. Even though there is no question who the starter will be, there will be important decisions to make regarding this position.
The biggest decision will be how many QBs to carry on the roster. The Bengals typically carry three, but last year they opted to...
It used to be that Bengals drafts would be exercises in frustration but the past three have been un-Bengallike in their results.
With 10 picks, they addressed key needs on offense and defense, using five on each side. Besides finding their starting right guard, they have competition on the defensive line, cornerback and tight end. They also drafted two wide receivers who will compete...
With their second pick in the first round the Bengals tried to improve their line on the offensive side of the ball. Guard is a need for the Bengals and in picking Kevin Zeitler, the Bengals probably improves the position on day 1 this season. Being a Buckeye fan, I got to see Zeitler play a couple times over the past few years and in that time the Wisconsin running game has been...
Hot News for C Marvin Lewis
By now you have read (or at least read about) the outstanding grades that the Bengals are receiving for their work in this year’s draft. They were able to find value picks that matched nicely with needs again and again. It was a wonderful thing to watch unfold.
You may have noticed, however, that a number of Bengals fans have repeatedly cited a blemish — or a perceived blemish...
Watching the early run on cornerbacks with LSU's Morris Claiborne (selected by the Cowboys at No. 6) and South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore (selected by the Buffalo Bills at No. 10) removed from the team's board early during the first round, Cincinnati addressed their first need of the evening selecting Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick at No. 17.
Considering that the team...
Over a month ago, ESPN released their offseason power rankings for NFL squads and many Bengals fans were surprised that the team was ranked at No.19 on the list. Coming off of a playoff appearance with young players getting another year and full offseason with their coaches and teammates made one think that they'll be a better squad in 2012 than they were last season. Throw in...