After trading out of their 21st position and adding a third-round selection in the process, the Cincinnati Bengals selected the first opening-round guard in franchise history with the selection of Wisconsin’s Kevin Zeitler. One of the top guard prospects in this year’s draft, Zeitler was ranked No. 31 on Mike Mayock’s pre-draft top 100. The three-year starter at Wisconsin is expected to step in and contribute right away at right guard. Here’s what people are saying around the Internet about the Bengals’ second first rounder.
Bengal Blogger’s take: I’m lukewarm, but have warmed up a bit on this pick since last night. It’s tough to swallow the fact that Cincinnati passed on DeCastro, who I think will be a stud, not once, but twice. The additional third-rounder the Bengals added is a nice perk. With DeCastro gone, I was chanting “Cordy! Cordy! Cordy!” for Georgia T/G Cordy Glenn at the 27th pick, but early reports suggest that the Bengals had Zeitler ranked higher than Glenn and DeCastro. I’ve gotten myself to accept this pick because my gripe with Cincinnati’s o-line has been its weakness inside in run blocking. Zeitler is a nasty run blocker — the best in this year’s draft in my book — and, while he’s not as well-rounded as DeCastro, he significantly upgrades our interior line.
NFL Gridiron Gab strengths and weaknesses:
• Very Physical Player
• Big Build, Big Base
• Really good footwork
• Great Instincts
• High motor
• Needs to improve staying low
• Doesn’t Have best reach
• Needs to stay disciplined
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock: “This is a solid pick. I don’t care if it’s not popular, this is a plug-and-play guard. Wisconsin offensive linemen are always well coached. The Bengals could use the help up front, and this kid will provide it. He can play zone and man. He’s an immediate starter. Well done.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay: “He’s a Badger lineman — big, physical, strong guard. He does a nice job in the run game. Can be a great finisher. Powerful upper body, did 32 reps in the bench press. And while he isn’t a great pass protector, I think he can be adequate if he continues to work on his awareness and his technique. I think he’ll contribute right away, should compete for the starting job.”
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: “Bengals trade down and get a feisty tough inside player. I like this move. Good move.” (Grade: B)
ESPN Scouts, Inc.: “The Bengals lost both starting offensive guards from a year ago in free agency, Nate Livings and Mike McGlynn, and veteran Bobbie Williams is not likely back. That leaves UFA signee Travelle Wharton, Clint Boling and Jacob Bell as their candidates. But in this West Coast offense, they want to be very physical in their inside run game, and Zeitler gives them flexibility at OG and OC and gives them good depth inside.”
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