With the Pro Bowl balloting opening last week, the Bengals have had several players getting recognition and support of getting them to Honolulu this year. Geno Atkins and A.J. Green are the highly-regarded Bengals who are likely to be in the Pro Bowl this year as starters, but one other players worth of Pro Bowl consideration that isn’t getting any national recognition is rookie guard Kevin Zeitler. He’s been a part of a much-improved Bengals offensive line after the team struggled mightily there last year. He’s the 6th-highest rated guard(+11.1) on Pro Football Focus out of 72 eligible guards, and has been a force in pass protection, allowing only 6 QB disruptions this year, while being a mauler in the run-game, ranking as the 12th-best run-blocker in all of football despite Bengals’ inept running game.
Amazingly, the only AFC guard to rank ahead of Zeitler is Baltimore’s Marshal Yanda(+16.0), and the only other AFC guars to even rank in the top-10 are Kansas City’s Jon Asamoah(+9.6) and Clint Boling(+9.1). It may be possible that after the Super Bowl participants are determined, as well as other Pro Bowlers potentially opting not to play in the event, the Bengals could have both of their starting guards in Honolulu this year.
Despite coming into the pros out of Wisconsin as a much better run-blocker than pass-protector, Zeitler has been solid in pass-protection, allowing just one sack this year that was to All-Pro DT Haloti Ngata in Week 1. 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.