Bengals Training Camp: 3 OL roster battles to watch on other teams
Detroit Lions: Obinna Eze vs. Matt Nelson vs. Dan Skipper
If the Bengals can’t poach the team with the best offensive line, maybe they will have better luck with the team that has the third best. Enter the Detroit Lions. Their starting five is set. Still, they have an intriguing rookie with a lot of upside.
Obinna Eze is an undrafted rookie free agent out of TCU. He will be in a roster battle with veterans, Matt Nelson and Dan Skipper. It will be an uphill battle for Eze, but he should not be counted out. As Brad Berreman of SideLion Report points out, Eze is one of the undrafted free agents with the best chance to make a roster.
Eze should get plenty of action in the preseason, allowing the Bengals and other teams to admire him from afar while they evaluate him.
If Eze gets released, Cincinnati could try to persuade him to join the Bengals. Although, it would be difficult to pry him away from the Lions, considering Detroit made him a priority free agent and paid him as such.
Interested teams would be wise to claim him off waivers rather than try to convince him to move on from Detroit if it comes to that.
It is difficult to believe that Eze went undrafted. He is nimble and quick enough to handle fast edge rushers. He is also strong enough to deal with powerful defensive linemen. He has an excellent feel for stunts and twists as well. On top of this, he has the intelligence, physical stature, and film that NFL teams should covet.
The Bengals love taking undrafted free agents from other teams and turning them into starters. Eze fits that category. He is not an obvious fit for the Bengals because he is neither versatile nor considered a “glass eater.” He only played left tackle for the TCU Horned Frogs. If he gets some snaps at left guard or right tackle during the preseason, he may fall into the “versatile” classification.
He could be on the practice squad or the 53-man roster for the Bengals while mastering the left tackle position at the NFL level. With Jonah Williams on the fifth-year option, Eze could start preparing to move into that role in 2023. He could also morph into a “glass eater” under the tutelage of offensive line coach Frank Pollack.
Oh yeah, here is a video of him playing in an alternate white and black Bengals helmet if you were wondering what that would look like.
We all know that players not currently on the roster will find themselves in Cincinnati. If the Bengals still are not 100% confident in their offensive line play, these three roster competitions are an excellent place to start.