Sep 28, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes offensive linesman Ereck Flowers (74) against the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Miami Hurricanes defeated the South Florida Bulls 49-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Entering the 2015 season, the Cincinnati Bengals are going to have to address the issues they will soon have at the offensive tackle position. At the end of the 2015 season, veteran left tackle and staple on the offensive line, Andrew Whitworth, will be a free agent. The 33 year old Whitworth has not only been a fantastic player, but an unbelievable teammate since being drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2006 draft. Replacing Whitworth won’t be easy, but it is a reality the Bengals have to face.
Luckily for the Cincinnati Bengals, there are quite a few top-notch tackles in the 2015 class. With the Bengals drafting 21st overall, they should be able to nab a top quality guy to protect quarterback Andy Dalton’s blind side. One of those guys could be University of Miami tackle, Ereck Flowers.
Flowers, a junior for the Hurricanes, stands at a towering 6’6” and weighs in at 324 pounds. He was a four star recruit from nearby Miami Norland Senior High School, in Miami, Florida, and was ranked as the 20th best tackle coming out of high school.
Ereck Flowers has proven he can hold his own throughout his Hurricanes career. Early in 2014, the Miami Hurricanes faced the Nebraska Cornhuskers, penning high first round defensive end prospect Randy Gregory of Nebraska versus Ereck Flowers of Miami. Flowers not only won this battle, he dominated it. Gregory was unable to generate anything against the overwhelming Flowers, and by late in the third quarter, Gregory had to be moved to the other side of the line where he was finally able to apply some pressure. Miami lost the game 41-31, but Flowers won the battle in the trenches.
Drafting a guy like Ereck Flowers doesn’t mean that Whitworth will be out of a job. Whitworth can still be a rotational guy, or move to the guard position. At the end of the day, the 33 year old is going to need less starter time, and more time as a mentor and rotational player, especially if he wants to lengthen his career, just ask Eric Winston about the NFL life cycle.
Although the tackle position has been a mainstay by two players over the past several years (Whitworth and Andre Smith), there is no doubt the Bengals have to address this issue if they are to continue boasting one of the league’s best tackle duos. If “Big Whit” only has a few years left in the tank, then utilizing Whitworth at guard, while employing a guy like Flowers at tackle only makes sense. Let a young guy like Flowers learn from the veterans and legendary offensive line coach Paul Alexander, and flourish to be the starting tackle for years to come.
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