Centerpiece of the Draft

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Nov 11, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (16) celebrates with guard Trevor Robinson (66) after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the New York Giants at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the Bengals draft grades have focused around the top four picks and their overall immediate utility, but Cincinnati’s real step forward was projecting considerable depth at every position, including some that many seem more concrete than others.  With the resigning of Andre Smith to right tackle, the gut feeling in greater Bengaldom is that the offensive line is now fully intact and ready for the season.  That may be a bit premature of a statement.

In January 2013, PFF and dished out the final grades for the Bengals offensive line.  Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith received scores of +22.8 and +29.2 respectively.  Rookie Kevin Zeitler notched a +13.3 score, and second year guard Clint Boling received +7.0, however; both struggled with their run blocking contributions towards the overall grade.  Nonetheless, center was by far the weakest position on the line with undrafted rookie Trevor Robinson having the highest score (-1.8) between himself and veterans Kyle Cook (-6.6) and Jeff Faine (-13.0).  More startling is that earlier in the spring of 2012, PFF had already ranked Cook the 4th worst center in the NFL over the past 3 seasons.  While Robinson is a bit of a fan favorite and shows a lot of promise, it’s important to remember that he was brought in as a G/C hybrid for malleable depth on the roster, not to take over as the starter.  The Bengals like to 9-to-10 offensive line men on the final 53-man roster so justifying Robinson as dual-hatted or even a pure back-up guard very easy to swallow, considering that trifecta of talent in Boling, Zeilter and returning veteran Travelle Wharton.

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