Nov 1, 2014; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi (70) vs Louisiana Monroe Warhawks during the second quarter at Kyle Field. Texas A&M Aggies won 21-16. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Cedric Ogbuehi offers the Bengals the depth along the offensive line that they were in need of. Ogbuehi began his collegiate career at guard while the Aggies had Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews. Once those players departed for the NFL, Ogbuehi moved to left tackle. This kind of versatility will always be appreciated and prioritized by the Bengals, so in this way, the pick is unsurprising.
Ogbuehi was also once expected to be a top pick in the draft. But that was before he tore his ACL last season. The Bengals are clearly comfortable with where his health is, as they aren’t the kind of team who likes to take huge risks early in the draft.
With both their tackles set to hit free agency, it’s hardly surprising the team invested in an offensive tackle, and even less surprising considering the Bengals aren’t worried about employing their first round player in year one.
On the flip side, there’s the discussion of the players in front of him. Andrew Whitworth is aging, so finding an eventual replacement must happen, but Whitworth doesn’t sound like a player who’s ready to hang it up anytime soon.
"“I’ve always had the opposite mentality. Mess up and draft somebody at my position because you are going to sit around and watch him sit the bench. That’s always been my mentality. I see it as a challenge.”"
Whitworth goes on to talk about feeling as strong as ever (if not more so) and being incredibly well conditioned. And considering how much respect the Bengals have for him, if he lives up to his word, and he usually does and is coming off of arguably his best year, then Ogbuehi won’t be playing left tackle anytime soon.
As for Andre Smith, he’s having quite the offseason himself. He’s looking fit and trim, and being praised for his “legendary” workouts. Cincinnati really can’t ask much more from Smith when looking at him through this prism.
With that said, the door could be ajar for Cedric Ogbuehi here. Smith may be looking good, but also had a great year during his last contract season. During the years in between, he’s missed offseason workouts, though with the team’s blessing, and has been injured at times. Neither means the team has any poor feelings regarding Smith, but they could see replacing him also.
The Bengals recently exercised the fifth-year option on right guard Kevin Zeitler. If they cannot afford to keep him beyond 2016, could the Bengals employ Cedric Ogbuehi at guard? This possibility is two years away, but could happen I suppose.
Personally, I would’ve liked to see the Bengals take a real impact player with their first pick, especially considering they are heading into a “win now” year. The team will go through some real changes after 2015, and have yet to reach any real success despite having such a talented roster. In this way, selecting for the future seems unjustified.
Playing devil’s advocate (for myself) for a moment, if Cedric Ogbuehi is healthy, the Bengals may have stolen a player who was once considered to be a candidate for the top overall selection, which would make him a huge value. Yet I can’t help but wonder if he would’ve been available at 53, or even another tackle such as Jake Fisher.
Cedric Ogbuehi could end up being a very good player. The year on the bench will definitely help him get there, but judging things by this pick alone, it looks like the Bengals want to ensure their current level of success going forward rather than get a player for right now who could improve the team immediately. It fits the Bengals M.O. as they typically prefer to find immediate impact players in the later rounds. We’ll have to see how the rest of the draft plays out before we can make a true judgment. The Bengals have proven themselves capable of making great selections as a draft progresses.
Check in with Stripe Hype tomorrow for more information, analysis, and tomorrow’s draft discussion around 5:00pm.
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