Needing an upgrade an the offensive line, the Bengals entered the 2012 NFL Draft with the mindset of finding the best guard there was and doing everything they could to ensure he would be there’s. With the 27th overall pick, they selected Wisconsin OG Kevin Zeitler. Despite all the hype surrounding Stanford guard David DeCastro, the Bengals believed Zeitler was the draft’s best guard and were set on him from the start. He was an anchor on a Wisconsin offensive line that was one of the best in the nation at running the ball, and he never allowed a sack in his 37 starts. He was regarded by many as the best Badgers lineman on a team averaged 235.7 yards per game on the ground.
Zeitler was regarded as an elite run-blocking guard who played in a Wisconsin system that annually produces solid offensive linemen low on “bust factor.” He notched 32 reps on the bench press at the NFL combine, showing just how physically dominating he’s capable of being. Zeitler is strong at the point of attack and does a good job of hitting blocks on the second level and in the open field on screen passes.
He played very well against NFL prospects like Penn State’s Devon Still and Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy, both of which he did very well against. Bengals Pro Bowl offensive lineman was very ecstatic to get Zeitler:
I see a guy who is serious about what he is going to have to do. He’s not overwhelmed and seems pretty determined. I like that. He’s definitely a guy that has a lot of character – that’s the first thing that you realize after a short conversation with him. I’m excited about his future here and I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help be a part of him being successful.
Zeitler also has had limited work at the center spot, and with no proven backup behind Kyle Cook, that could be come into play.