Let me start off by saying I'm NOT a big fan of Paul Alexander and I personally think he should have been FIRED based on some of his personnel decisions, regarding our offensive line in the past. Having said that, maybe I've been too hard on his overall job performance, don't get me wrong I still think he sucks as a talent evaluator but if you really look at the overall body of work he's done a pretty descent job of developing most of the offensive lineman that have been under his tutelage.
Here's a look at how some of his linemen have progressed recently.
Andrew Whitworh (2006 - present) - He has quietly become one of the best left tackles in the league and aside from a small drop off last season he has consistently played better and better each year since his rookie season with the Bengal’s and Paul Alexander as his coach.
Andre Smith (2009 - present) - Went from being a BUST to a pretty good right tackle. Each and every year he has also gotten better and better under Alexander's coaching. It's reflected most of all in how his pass blocking has improved dramatically over the last several seasons.
Anthony Collins (2008 - present)– Every time he's called upon, he steps in and does a marvelous job, he's always prepared and could likely start on several other teams around the league, that's not bad development for a mid round pick.
Kyle Cook (2007 - present)- Went from an un-drafted FA to a pretty darn good center and once again he's another player who has IMPROVED each and every year under Alexander.
Evan Mathis (2008 - 2010) - People tend forget Evan Mathis was released by both the Carolina Panthers and the Miami Dolphins before he was signed by the Bengals. Under Alexander and the Bengal’s coaching staff his play improved ten-fold and he eventually found himself a starting job with the Philadelphia Eagles where he became one of the best guards in the league. (In another discussion, he could also be used as a reason why Alexander sucks:)
Nate Livings (2006 - 2011) - Yes, I'm actually going to use him as an example as well because he was absolutely atrocious in 2010 and even though he was still very BAD in 2011, he did slightly improve his play overall and apparently it was enough in eyes of some evaluators to earn himself a pretty lucrative contract with Dallas Cowboys.
I honestly DON'T think I'll ever be a real big Paul Alexander fan or supporter just based on how much he has screwed us in the past with his awful talent evaluations. With that said, the point of this article is to point out that even though he may not be our favorite coach (because of BAD personnel choices) he’s actually done a pretty descent job in developing the majority of our offensive lineman. (Unfortunately some of them were developed to play for another teams;). By NO means am I suggesting we should pass on DeCastro or any other top guard prospect but I did want to point out that assuming Hudson and Bolin have both been able to get stronger and are being developed in the same way as the guys I've listed above, our offensive line outlook in 2012 may actually be better than many of us originally anticipated.