Feb 25, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
With the 27th overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft, the Bengals, after taking Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick at No. 17 and moving back in the draft, giving up their No. 21 selection to the New England Patriots, have selected Wisconsin offensive guard Kevin Zeitler.
This pick comes after the team moved back, missing out on David DeCastro, who was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and, possibly somewhat unexpectedly, was selected before Georgia's Cordy Glenn, who was projected to be a top-15 pick in some mock drafts. Also, Zeitler is now the first offensive guard to be selected in the first round in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise. Zeitler will likely start at right guard, giving the Bengals an offensive line of Andrew Whitworth, Travelle Wharton, Kyle Cook, Zeitler and Andre Smith.
Zeitler may come as a surprise to many Bengals fans, but according to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, the Bengals have been high on the Wisconsin guard for a long time.
#bengals are taking Wisconsin OG Kevin Zeitler with the 27th pick. O-line coach Paul Alexander has liked Zeitler since before the combine
|Production||"2008: Appeared in three games along the offensive line. 2009: Started all 13 games at RG. 2010: Played in 13 games while making nine starts at RG. 2011: Started all 14 games at RG."|
|Height-Weight-Speed||"Average blend of height, weight and top-end speed for an offensive guard prospect. "|
|Durability||Missed time during 2010 summer camp with a high ankle (left) sprain sustained during practice.|
|Intangibles||Pronunciation: ZITE-ler. Hard worker that won the Badger Power Award for his dedication to the weight room in 2010. Has added substantial weight and gotten much stronger during collegiate career. Lost starting job because of an injury during 2010 camp but stayed positive and regained it in time for the Big Ten season opener. Has practiced at center. 2010-11 All Academic Big Ten.|
|Pass Protection||Initial quickness is just average and can get beat off the snap when footwork isn't sound. Flashes quick hands in sets and can get into defenders pads and lock on. Also shows ability to shuffle and mirror to stay in front of rushers once engaged. Can get caught lunging at times which can make him vulnerable to quicker interior rushers. Does not panic when getting knocked off balance initially and flashes ability to recover and get back into position. Can sink and anchor to neutralize bull rush attempt.|
|Run Blocking||Sound initial fit more times than not and can wall off assignment. Displays quick and compact hands to lock on to defenders. Drives legs once in position and flashes ability to drive defenders when stays low and generating leverage. However can play too high on occasion and does not have an elite inline power base to overcome and get adequate movement when pads rise up. Shuffles feet well upon contact to stay engaged with blocks. Plays under control and takes good angles in space or when climbing to the second level. Also displays ability to adjust on the move to cover up targets in space.|
|Awareness||Possesses above-average instincts and football I.Q. More instinctive as run blocker than in pass protection at this point. Generally assignment sound in the run game. Locates targets pre-snap and executes assignments. Also does a nice job of identifying targets at the second and third level on the move. Keeps head on a swivel in pass protection. Can be step late getting into position when picking up pressures from the second and third level.|
|Toughness||Above average upper body strength -- benched 225 32 times at the combine. Flashes an edge and can deliver the big block when catches defenders off guard but needs to become more of a finisher at this point. Does not back down from challenges but would like to see more of mean streak.|
STRENGTHS Zeitler displays very quick movement off the line and gets into his blocks quickly. He can blow a defender back and drive his legs to sustain blocks throughout run plays. He stands out in his work at the second level, where he has the ability to bend his knees and engage linebackers. He can quickly pull from his spot off the line.
WEAKNESSES Zeitler is a big man with heavy legs who at times labors to get moving when he needs to get out of his set and pull. His body control can be inconsistent at times, as he occasionally will whiff on linebackers. He is slower than desirable and is better off working in close proximity to his man to control the block.