In case you missed it in last month's draft, the Bengals spent almost a third of their draft picks on the offensive line, bringing in three new guys at the tackle, guard, and center positions. While none of the three are projected to be starters in year one, they all have the opportunity to latch onto the roster and provide quality depth as they grow and develop.
In his press conference transcribed on Bengals.com, head coach Marvin Lewis echoed these thoughts, arguing that the Bengals have put themselves in a prime position to foster the glut of talent behind this year's group of starters.
It gives us an opportunity for some real, true depth and development on the offensive line. We know what a critical area that is in the National Football League. You need to have guys that are in the pipeline developing, and I think we have an opportunity now with those kinds of guys. We found Trevor (Robinson) last year, and with what (Clint) Boling and (Kevin) Zeitler have done, and
Anthony Collinscontinues to do well here. We basically re-signed that second unit that we’ve had, but these guys come in to compete with those guys, which is a good thing.
Competition breeds improvement, and going by the state of the depth on this year's o-line, new rookies Reid Fragel, Tanner Hawkinson, and T.J. Johnson will each have an opportunity to push the veterans that are ahead of them on the depth chart. The Bengals re-signed Dennis Roland and retained Travelle Wharton, but depending on how fast the rookies pick up the pro game, their days might be numbered. The team typically carries nine or ten linemen into the season, so it is a situation that merits watching.
Heading into the 2013 season, the Bengals have more talent than they are accustomed to on the o-line and not enough spots for everyone to make it. Such are the consequences of adding quality depth over consecutive years.