Though some touted offensive tackle as a need for the Cincinnati Bengals in this year's draft, others felt that that was something the team could put off. After all, Pro Bowl tackle Andrew Whitworth is manning the left side of the line for at least this year and Andre Smith still has a year left on his deal while anchoring the other side.
One tackle early on? Sure. But, two? Whoa.
In the week leading up to the Draft, rumors began swirling that the Bengals were "in love" with Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher, while some others had them tabbing Cedric Ogbuehi as the better player. Well, they said "why not?" and grabbed both. With Smith and Whitworth in the final year of their respective deals and Kevin Zeitler not having a long-term deal done either (they just exercised the fifth-year option on him), the line could be in jeopardy of losing three elite players.
All of a sudden the Fisher and Ogbuehi picks make a lot of sense when viewed in a different light. Fisher converted to OT from tight end and is known to have great feet and athleticism, but needs to work on some technique and power deficiencies. Both will be musts for offensive line coach Paul Alexander to develop Fisher, especially in the grinding AFC North.
Even with the work and players ahead of him, Fisher isn't ready to be labeled a "backup" in 2015. Guard could be in play for Fisher at the next level as well, given Alexander's penchant for developing versatile linemen.
"I'm going to show up on Day 1 and take it as it is," Fisher said during his post-draft news conference Saturday.
His goal, he added, was to compete for legitimate playing time, even if reality, for now, might tell a different story.
"As a rookie just earn the respect of teammates by staying quiet and learning this game," Fisher said. "Just learn a lot and take everything in. Take everything with a grain of salt; from different opinions. And just continue to be yourself and make the people around you better."
The team's plan isn't to shoot Fisher out there as a Week 1 starter. With the familiar faces returning for 2015, Ogbuehi can heal a knee he tore up in the final game of the college season and Fisher can learn from some of the league's best. That doesn't mean that if/when his name is called upon that he won't be ready, though.