The Bengals are fortunate enough, after re-signing Andre Smith during the draft, to bring back all five starting offensive linemen from the 2012 season. At left tackle they have Andrew Whitworth, left guard in Clint Boling, center is Kyle Cook or Trevor Robinson, right guard is Kevin Zeitler and right tackle is Smith.
They also added offensive linemen in the draft and free agency.
For the purposes of this article, let's say the only locks are those who started last year, including the two centers.
Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling, Trevor Robinson, Kyle Cook, Kevin Zeitler, Andre Smith
Collins has been a solid backup tackle for the Bengals and could probably start if he was needed to. However, the Bengals have two solid tackles in Whitworth and Smith. Somehow, they were able to re-sign Collins even though he knew he wasn't likely going to get a ton of playing time unless there was an injury. The only reason Collins would likely get cut is if he was injured.
If Wharton is healthy heading into training camp, he may not only make the team, but he could push Boling for the starting left guard spot. He was signed to start at left guard in 2012, but suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason. Luckily, Boling played well throughout the season.
The Bengals selected Hawkinson in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, and while you would be surprised to think a rookie may be grouped in with Collins and Wharton, Hawkinson has shown his worth by displaying his versatility. During OTAs this summer, Hawkinson has lined up at guard and tackle spots while veterans have been nursing wounds.
The Bengals added Pollak to provide depth on the offensive line should one of the starters be injured. Pollak's big leg up over the young competition is experience. Our of everyone in this group, he's likely the the one towing the line of being beat out for a spot.
The Bengals typically keep either nine or ten offensive line on the active roster. Which ones do you think will be on the final roster when the season begins?