It started Saturday morning when the Bengals began discussing the idea.
How rare is it for the Bengals move up in the draft for a player that they're targeting? They've only done it twice... in their entire history; '95 for running back Ki-Jana Carter and '02 for tight end Matt Schobel. Usually they allow the draft to come to them, but not this year. At least for one mid-round selection, they became the proactive entities in this annual spring affair.
Cincinnati targeted North Carolina center Russell Bodine, who was ranked as the third-best center entering the 2014 NFL draft by ESPN. SB Nation's Mocking the Draft had him ranked sixth. CBS Sports ranked him 11th... as an offensive guard. Regardless on who had whom ranked, the Bengals viewed Bodine with enough value and urgency to move up in the draft before someone else claimed him. Cincinnati got a deal done with Seattle.
|Bengals Get||Seahawks Get|
|Fourth-round pick (No. 111)||Fourth-round pick (No. 123)|
|Sixth-round pick (No. 199)|
The Bengals quickly snagged Bodine.
"He's a really solid player. I think the more tape teams watched of him -- especially the coaches -- the more they liked him. He can play both guard spots, and that's key for him," said NFL analyst Mike Mayock on the NFL Network.
Even if that's the case, Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander is clearly viewing Bodine as a potential starter as soon as the first regular season game.
OL coach Paul Alexander on C Bodine: "I think he will compete right away to be the starting center." #Bengals— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 10, 2014
Paul Alexander on Russell Bodine "I think he can block the big nose guards in our division. He was really the only big center in the draft"— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) May 10, 2014
If you really think about it, Bodine might become the leading candidate, among all of Cincinnati's rookies, to start for the Bengals in Baltimore (Sept. 7). Maybe Hill, but we need to see how that plays out first. And all it really cost Cincinnati, except for the obvious use of a fourth-round pick, was a sixth-rounder.