With the Andre Smith saga dragging out into it's fourth week, it isn't totally out of the question to wonder if the Bengals will be forced to move on from the talented, but troubled, right tackle. In an ideal world, Smith would wisen up and realize that the tackle market just isn't there to support the big payday he wants. But as the draft draws ever nearer, and the outlook for a new deal ever grimmer, the Bengals would be wise to look into other options for the right tackle spot in 2013.
Looking to the draft, one name thrown around a lot recently has been D.J. Fluker our of Alabama. Fluker clearly has the ideal size and demeanor to be a force at right tackle in the NFL, but with his level of talent, there is no guarantee that he will be available at the 21 spot. Consequently, the Bengals are doing their homework on a few other right tackles just in case they miss out on both Smith and Fluker. One such tackle is OSU RT Reid Fragel, who has a visit with the team set up according to draft analyst and noted Led Zeppelin aficionado Tony Pauline.
As Pauline suggests, Fragel is currently flying under the radar a bit, but could blossom into a solid NFL contributor. Originally a converted tight end out of OSU, Fragel stands very tall at 6'8" but has good weight to pair with his height at 308 pounds. After missing the senior bowl with an undisclosed injury, he had a great combine showing, which gave him a small boost heading into the draft. The biggest concern with Fragel is his inexperience. He only played one season at tackle and often displayed messy footwork and poor technique, both of which can be corrected with proper coaching.
As it stands now, Fragel isn't likely to be a high pick in April's draft. As his multiple visits indicate, however, he is certain to be a mid-to-late round pick for some team and could prove to be a valuable starter down the line.