When the Bengals opted to bypass on drafting Stanford guard David DeCastro, the most highly-touted guard to come into the NFL Draft since future Hall-of-Famer Steve Hutchinson came out of Michigan, many criticized the team for taking Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler instead. It even came out the Bengals had Zeitler higher on their board than DeCastro, a view shared by few, but it continues to look as though the Bengals made the right call.
He’s currently the third-best rated player offensive Bengals player according to Pro Football Focus, who also had Zeitler rated as their #3 candidate for the NFL rookie of the year:
3. Kevin Zeitler, RG, CIN (+9.2)
The star offensive linemen of the 2012 class to date, Zeitler is holding strong in fifth place in our right guard rankings, and even made the Team of the Week for the past slate of games. He’s coming along quickly.
Out of 72 eligible left guards, PFF has Zeitler as the 8th-best LG in the entire NFL. He’s been solid in pass=protection, allowing just one sack this year that was to All-Pro DT Haloti Ngata in Week 1. He’s also been a very consistent run-blocker, which is exactly what the Bengals drafted him for. The Bengals clearly hit a home-run with the drafting of Zeitler, and along with the likes of Andrew Whitworth(30), a healthy Kyle Cook(29), a re-signed Andre Smith(25), and an improving Clint Boling( 23), the Bengals may have one of the more stable offensive lines going forward if they are able to get healthy keep this unit together this offseason.