Playing for Texas A&M in college, Cedric Ogbuehi suffered an ACL tear in the Liberty Bowl that kept him out of all but five games for the Bengals last year. While the outlook on 2016 is still bright, Ogbuehi has suffered another injury that could force him to miss time.
The Bengals have had a rough offseason.
After losing their star tight end Tyler Eifert to an ankle injury in the Pro Bowl, the Bengals saw first round cornerback William Jackson III go down with a torn pectoral in training camp and fourth-round defensive tackle Andrew Billings suffer a torn meniscus. Unfortunately, starting right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi can now be added to the lengthy list of injured Bengals.
Ogbuehi came out of Friday’s game against the Vikings with a toe injury, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. The injury isn’t considered something that will need surgery, but Ogbuehi is expected miss 2 to 3 weeks, with the first game of the season being tentatively eyed as the return date for the young tackle.
Used as an auxiliary tackle in special run packages last year, Ogbuehi could have used this preseason time become accustomed to playing 80 snaps a game in one of the five core positions along the Bengals starting offensive line. Coming off a season where he didn’t play eighty snaps all year, Ogbuehi looked like he needed the practice. He functioned as something of turnstile for Vikings defensive ends Friday.
Taking Ogbuehi’s place will be Jake Fisher, who moves over from left tackle. Fisher had been playing on the left side to give veteran Andrew Whitworth some rest this preseason. While the Bengals would have liked to have seen their 2015 first round pick get some action, seeing the player they picked one round later earn a starting role shouldn’t be much worse.
Ogbuehi and Fisher came into this season with the Bengals with almost identical experiences. Both were drafted in the first two rounds of the 2015 draft when the Bengals didn’t even appear to need a tackle. Fisher didn’t have a major injury keeping him out. But, he saw limited time as an auxiliary blocker and blocking tight end. Players of a very similar build, these two are considered the future of the Bengals’ line.
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While the jury is still out on Fisher at the pro level, he excelled in college and was declared by Mike Mayock “the most accomplished zone tackle in his draft.” Experts also noted that Fisher was likely the most ready to compete for a starting job anywhere he went.
Boasting the likes of Jake Fisher, Eric Winston, and Andrew Whitworth, Ogbuehi’s injury isn’t much of a concern. The downside? The injury means he’s likely condemned to start the season the same way he ended it last year. He needs time to prove himself as a consistent starter on the line.