Cedric Ogbuehi Looks Great in First Practice

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Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M) poses for a photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number 21st overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The wait is finally over.

2015 first-round draft selection Cedric Ogbuehi is finally on the practice field after about 11 months of recovering and rehabbing from a torn ACL.

Cincinnati’s rookie left tackle was one of the top college prospects in the nation before tearing his ACL in Texas A&M’s bowl game, Ogbuehi’s final game as an Aggie. While Ogbuehi had previously taken out a $50,000+ insurance policy in anticipation of a potential injury during his senior year, he ultimately decided not to collect.

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As the story goes, the Bengals–a team with no glaring offseason needs to address in the draft–selected Ogbuehi 21st with the 21st overall pick, which stirred up some controversy and tension between the team and veteran offensive tackle

Andrew Whitworth

, as Ogbuehi and second-round pick

Jake Fisher

were both clearly drafted to replace Whitworth and

Andre Smith

at tackle. Granted, some of this tension came from the team’s

refusal to talk with Whitworth about a potential extension

(although he

ultimately received the extension

)–but still, the Bengals could have handled the situation better.

But the past is in the past.

Oct 4, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Texas A&M Aggies offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi (70) lines up against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Ogbuehi finally suited up and saw some action on the practice field, just a couple of weeks after linebacker Vontaze Burfict returned to practice. As great as he looked, it’s pretty clear that Ogbuehi won’t suit up on Monday night against the Houston Texans–but don’t rule out a return for next week; Ogbuehi is looking healthy and pretty much ready to go.

When asked about Ogbuehi’s return to practice, offensive line coach Paul Alexander had this to say:

"“We’ll take it one day at a time and today it was a good start. He has a leg up. He knows the plays. He knows the calls. He’s seen it. He’s watched Whitworth do it all right. He’s the best guy in the league to model because his technique is so good.”"

Ogbuehi is versatile enough to play almost anywhere on the offensive line; he played four of the five line spots at Texas A&M, so he could be a nice swing backup linemen. And because he hasn’t been playing in practices and games, the rookie linemen has had tons of time to familiarize himself with the playbook. Ogbuehi is incredibly physically gifted; he drew comparisons to D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Eugene Monroe in his NFL Draft Profile and looks like he could be the Bengals’ next premiere offensive tackle.

Next: Cincinnati Bengals: Is 16-0 Possible?

With Ogbuehi almost certain to earn a promotion to the 53-man roster in the next couple of weeks, the question now becomes who the Bengals will waive in order to clear space for the rookie. Potential roster casualties include T.J. JohnsonEric WinstonChris Lewis-HarrisChris Carter and Margus Hunt.

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