Trey Hopkins will be the starting center for the Bengals if he returns healthy in 2021. Hopkins is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in the final game of the 2021 season. With the fifth-year option declined for 2018 first-round pick Billy Price, Cincinnati added some depth at center in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Georgia center Trey Hill is not projected to be a long-term starter. Cincinnati adds depth with the former Bulldog and likely replacement on the roster for Price after his contract expires following the 2021 season. Hill had surgery on both knees in the offseason. Hill started 22 games at center for Georgia in 2019 and 2020.
During the 2019 season, Hill started four games at right guard. The versatility Hill brings on the offensive line is important with the Bengals needing competition at both guard spots. Second-round pick Jackson Carman who played left tackle in college projects to start at left guard for Cincinnati in 2021.
At 6’3, 319 pounds, Hill has the size to play guard. According to Pro Football Focus via Bengals.Com, Hill allowed just only sacks in more than 1,700 collegiate snaps. Hill graded out as the 14th best center in FBS in 2020. Hill was the third OL Cincinnati drafted after Carman and D’Ante Smith from East Carolina.
Adding depth on both lines was critical for Cincinnati in free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft. The Bengals signed DE Trey Hendricksen and OT Riley Reiff in free agency. In addition to the drafted OL, Cincinnati selected edge rushers Joseph Ossai and Cameron Sample and defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin this weekend.
Georgia has produced five OL in the last two NFL Drafts. Based on his collegiate performance and rankings, the Bengals might have a steal with Hill. Upgrading the OL is critical entering the 2021 season with Joe Burrow coming off of repaired ACL. The Bengals have to protect Burrow better this season.