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NFL Draft: Senior Bowl Players to Watch - Offensive Line

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The Bengals will be involved in meaningful football in January. So what if it’s the Senior Bowl? With the CBA in flux, this may be closest thing to Bengals football we might see for a while. While coaching the Senior Bowl three times in seven years isn’t anything to brag about, you can look at the previous stints (2004, 2009) to forecast who could be on the 2011 Bengals roster. After coaching the North team in 2004, the Bengals have since drafted or signed seven players from that game. Keiwan Ratliff, Madieu Williams, Kyle Larson, Greg Brooks, Ronnie Ghent, Alex Stepanovich, and Kirk Champbers. Four players on today’s roster played in the 2009 Senior Bowl where the Bengals coached the North team. Rey Maualuga, Kevin Huber, Quan Cosby, and Cedric Peerman. So what does this tell us? We will probably draft a punter again. OK not really, but it does show that watching the Senior Bowl can be a preview of future Bengals. With that said, here’s a few players that I think we could see in stripes next season.

Offensive Line:

John Moffit:  G/C   Wisconsin    6'4"  314 lbs    No. 70 North Team

I love John Moffitt as a prospect. Not only is he tough, strong and smart, he's athletic enough to be a pulling guard. Moffitt will be getting reps at guard and center in Saturday’s bowl game, but I see him as a perfect left guard for Cincinnati. Sure he can play center in a pinch, that only adds to his value. During this past week’s practices, Moffitt looked to be the toughest guard for opposing defensive tackles to beat in one on ones. In 11 on 11 drills, Moffitt showed a great ability to get to the second level and wall off linebackers. As of right now, Moffitt is my second rated guard in this years draft and looks to be a mid second-round pick.

A good game is probably expected considering the way Moffitt practiced, and interior linemen don’t ever go that high anyways.

With a bad game, there are two other guards ready to jump Moffitt in rankings and maybe push him into the third round.

Rodney Hudson: G/C  Florida St.   6'2" 290 lbs.      No. 62  South Team

If Hudson were prototypical size, he would easily be a late first-round pick. He has great technique and hand placement, to go along with great agility and quickness for an offensive lineman. Where he struggles is with big nose tackle types. Power rushers can blow him off the ball sometimes. Playing mostly guard at Florida St., Hudson is also receiving snaps at center. I think this could be Hudson’s best shot at the NFL. With Kyle Cook heading towards restricted free agency, the Bengals may want to look for a replacement as they try to re-build their line once again.

If he shows he can play center as well as he played guard at Florida St., Hudson could be the second center off the board somewhere between rounds three and four.

Lee Ziemba: OT/G    Auburn    6'6" 317 lbs.    No. 73  South Team

Even though Ziemba started at left tackle for the National Champion Auburn Tigers, he isn’t all that good of an NFL prospect. Ziemba’s short arms and average agility didn’t help him in college and it has become his biggest flaw to coaches and scouts. Ziemba isn’t a starting offensive tackle in the NFL, but he’s been much better at guard this week in practice. He needs a little extra time in the weight room and more experience playing inside, but I really think somebody could find a nice swing lineman that could play multiple spots in a pinch. The Bengals love to draft tackles to play guard and Ziemba could be a mid to late-round pick depending on how quickly he can adjust to playing guard in this Saturday’s game.

 

Go here for Senior Bowl frequently asked questions.