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Too early to worry about Cedric Ogbuehi?

Bengals right tackle Ogbuehi has struggled this year, but is it too soon to jettison hope?

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After spending six seasons with the Texans, Eric Winston was released by the team with years remaining on his contract. He was signed a few days later by the Chiefs to a four year deal, only to be cut after one season. He was then signed by the Cardinals on a one year deal for the 2013 season. The Cardinals did not try to re-sign him, and in 2014 he signed a one year deal with the Seahawks, only to be cut before the season began. After spending much of the 2014 season unsigned, the Bengals added him to the roster as a backup, who ended up proving reliable due to injuries to Andre Smith. He drew little interest after the 2014 season, and the Bengals brought him back on a one year deal for the 2015 season. Before the 2016 season, the pattern repeated, as the Bengals brought him back on another one year deal as a backup. In the two and a half years before signing with the Bengals, Winston was released three times, and bounced around between four different teams. Basically, he was not very highly regarded, and had trouble proving his worth.

So what does this all have to do with Cedric Ogbuehi? Well, this 33-year-old journeyman is the player who is pushing Ogbuehi out of his starting job at right tackle. After playing 100% of the offensive snaps in the Bengals’ first five games of the 2016 regular season, Ogbuehi has seen his snap counts drop significantly. Since Week 5, Ogbuehi has played roughly half of the offensive snaps, with Winston replacing him on the other half of the snaps.

If Winston was a young, emerging player, unseating an aging veteran, the shift in snap counts would perhaps make sense. Unfortunately, the situation is the exact opposite. It’s the aging veteran who is unseating the young second year tackle who is supposed to be the emerging talent, and was a 2015 first round pick.

But, the young tackle has flaws and the Bengals are now seeing them first hand.

NFL.com’s draft analysis of Ogbuehi, said he “was one of the SEC leaders in sacks allowed in 2014”, and mentioned “NFL evaluators are very worried about Ogbuehi’s core strength and ability to anchor in pass protection”.

CBSsports.com’s draft analysis pointed out poor blocking technique which left him off balance, and a tendency to catch pass rushers instead of punching. They also considered him vulnerable to swim moves as well.

Also, Ogbuehi was moved from left tackle to right tackle during his final season at Texas A&M due to his struggles, and inconsistent play against collegiate competition.

These prospect evaluations seem to match well with what we have seen with Ogbuehi this season, as he has struggled in pass protection, and has seemingly struggled with strength against defensive linemen.

He was a player drafted because the team felt there was projectable upside to his game, and not based on being a dominant player at the college level. But at some point, one has to stop hoping for potential to be realized and just admit that there is questionable upside. So it begs the question: with Ogbuehi’s weaknesses, which plagued him in college, and still seem to be present in his second year as a pro, can be overcome the issues, or is he as good as he will be?

The Bengals are hoping he turns the corner and becomes the player they were hoping he would be, but what do you think?