Wake Forest’s Zach Tom makes a lot of sense for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, the left tackle is not among conversations surrounding Bengals nation. He should be.
The Cincinnati Bengals will have some tough decisions to make this week. With that, they will have to weigh the needs, values, roster construction, draft depth, and strengths and weaknesses of players. Zach Tom should play a role in the team’s decision-making process.
True Position Versatility
“Position versatility” is an overused phrase for offensive linemen. Teams would be better off striking it from their lexicon rather than using it as a guide to help select offensive linemen.
If you believe that was the choice, position versatility was just one of several reasons the Bengals went with Ja’Marr Chase over Pennei Sewell. However, there are a few who think that was never the option. Perhaps if it were a choice between Chase and a lineman, that lineman would have been the unicorn that is Rashawn Slater.
Why? Position versatility.
Sewell made it very clear that he had no intentions of playing guard in the NFL.
The Chargers slated Slater at left tackle and never looked back. But he would have been a starter no matter where he ended up playing along the offensive line.
Slater went on to earn second-team All-Pro honors last year as a rookie. Also, at what is considered the most important position along the offensive line, left tackle.
Tom is the closest thing to Slater in this year’s draft. Tom started his Demon Deacons career at center. The prevailing thought is that if he can play center and tackle, he should be able to play guard.
Slater played all five positions at while art Northwestern. Moreover, he did so at an elite level.
Tom performed exceptionally as a center and a left tackle.
The term “versatile” given offensive linemen coming out of college often does more harm than good. It is seen as a positive until it isn’t. The truth is that players do not play equally well across the offensive line. Those who do are the exception rather than the rule.
Tom could be an exception.