The Bengals have re-signed unrestricted free agent offensive tackle Andre Smith, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, minutes prior to the Cincinnati Bengals first second-round selection during the 2013 NFL draft.
Big Bengals move: Cincinnati is re-signing OT Andre Smith, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 26, 2013
After the Bengals used their franchise tag on defensive end Michael Johnson, re-signing Smith became a priority for the team, keeping the offensive line together, preventing the need for using a high draft picks on an offensive tackle, and successfully re-signing one of their own.
Smith, a first-round pick from the 2009 draft, taken at No. 6 overall by the Bengals, was the team's best overall offensive lineman in 2012, excelling not only as a run blocker but improving as a pass blocker. His growth over the last few years, when fans considered him a bust in 2009 and 2010 due to injury and work ethic questions, has vastly shifted into wide-spread support.
Pro Football Focus gave Smith an overall of 29.2 in 2012, with a pass blocking score of 13.7 and a run blocking score of 10.6. The team's ground game was usually at it's best when running behind Smith and Kevin Zeitler, the team's right guard.
Cincinnati has their four offensive tackles that they employed last year, with Andrew Whitworth and Smith starting and Anthony Collins and Dennis Roland as backups.