NFL Draft 2012: Offensive Guard is a Necessity for Bengals

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02: Andrew Luck #12 and David DeCastro #52 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after Luck threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz #86 in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Coming in to this offseason, the Bengals have three offensive guards that are set to be free agents and are in desperate need of help at the position. With a number of quality guards getting set to become free agents, the help the Bengals need could be found there, or, possibly even better, it could come from drafting a guard with one of the Bengals two first round picks.

It is an analysis consensus that Stanford G David DeCastro is the best available, but it is highly unlikely that the Bengals would be able to draft him at no. 17 because of the offensive line needs of teams such as the Redskins or Cowboys who draft before the Bengals. In that case, the next best offensive guard is Cordy Glenn, and he played tackle in every game last year at the University of Georgia.

Glenn is a massive human being standing tall at 6-5 and weighing in at 345 lbs, but his versatility is what attracts him to Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander.

According to Alexander, it is a good sign when a lineman can play more than one position at a high level:

That's always good," he said. "You always like a guard that can play tackle or a guard that can play center.

Although Glenn struggled much of last year at left tackle, it is widely believed that he would be a force in the interior line in both the running and passing game. The same can be said about a former teammate of Glenn's at Georgia and current Bengals guard Clint Boling. Boling played decently through the first four games but went back to the bench after Bobbie Williams came back to the team after his suspension at the start of the season.

Much like Glenn in his last year at Georgia, in the preseason Alexander played Boling at center for most of the four preseason games in order to give the offensive line some depth. Glenn would be a great pick up for the Bengals because of his ability to play guard at a very high level, but he is also available to play tackle if necessary. The utility player is a well-known concept within Cincinnati as Jermaine Gresham has played tight end and fullback as well as offensive lineman commonly getting work in positions that are not their own.

There is a positive side to having players who can play more than one position but, as it has been made clear with Gresham's play in 2011, it is better to have a player play at a high level in one position than have him be mediocre at a few positions. Glenn is not the only guard who is coming out of college highly touted, but players such as Peter Konz (played at center, but can also line up at guard), Kevin Zeitler, and Amini Silatolu. There is a very deep talent pool for interior offensive linemen in the 2012 NFL draft, which is a very good thing for the Bengals who will likely end up drafting two guards (one in the first round and one in the later rounds) because of their lack of depth at the position.

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