The Bengals released their depth chart leading up to Week 1, and the biggest surprise is at right guard. A new face has emerged to improve the O-line.
If you would have asked who the favorite was throughout camp at right guard, many would have thought Trey Hopkins, the three-year veteran out of Texas. Getting most of the first team snaps in games, it was seemingly Hopkins’ job to lose, and that he did. There’s a new face at right guard, and his name is Alex Redmond.
A Talent that was Bruin
Going into his third season out of UCLA, Redmond was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Bengals in 2016. At UCLA, Redmond was a star who ended up tying the school record for starts in a single season, as a freshman.
He also was a freshman All-American, and was All-Conference with an honorable mention. Projected as a top 20 guard in the draft, Redmond unfortunately did not hear his name called on draft day.
Earning his Stripes
In his first two seasons with the Bengals, Redmond spent his first season on the practice squad and had limited preseason action with a nagging injury. Even after being waived by the team, he was able to come back and earn a roster spot heading into 2017. He also ended up playing in 5 games throughout the year.
After sitting out most of the season (coach’s decision), he contributed late in the season while rotating playing time will fellow lineman Christian Westerman due to a pretty banged up offensive line. Redmond was also able to get some experience on the defensive line too.
Prepared to Start
In order to prepare for this upcoming season, Redmond knew he had to become flexible and powerful. Building off of his wrestling roots in high school, Redmond spent the summer taking jiu jitsu and boxing classes to improve his agility. It certainly paid off, as coming into camp he once again had an obstacle to overcome, which he did.
In a heated competition with Hopkins, Redmond was able to impress the coaching staff enough to secure the start seemingly at the very end. With impressive camps from every lineman in the mix, Redmond won the coaches over with that “it” factor. While he does need to improve on his technique, the confidence and optimism is through the roof as the team looks to improve on their biggest weakness from a season ago.
Heading into this match up with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the Bengals will get the chance to show if they have improved following last year, or if another mediocre season is in the works. With players healthy and a new coaching staff, this team will definitely prove doubters wrong.
Redmond isn’t the only player under a microscope, as other young guys will have something to prove as well. Be on the lookout for analysis and predictions heading into the first road test of 2018. The game will be on Sunday, September 9th at 1 pm from Lucas Oil Stadium.