With the 161st pick in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Arizona State offensive guard Christian Westerman. He joins a class already consisting of cornerback William Jackson III, wide receiver Tyler Boyd, linebacker Nick Vigil and defensive tackle Andrew Billings. He will back up Kevin Zeitler and Clint Boling and provides an insurance policy with Zeitler approaching free agency after this season.
Apparently, the Bengals had shown an early interest in Westerman and the former Sun Devil wasn't surprised the team grabbed him in the fifth round. Westerman, 6'3", 298 pounds, started 25 games over the past two seasons for ASU and was a second-team All Pac-12 player as a senior in 2015.
Much like the team's current starting center Russell Bodine, Westerman is known as a weight room machine. Reports had him bench pressing 225 pounds 41 times before his senior year, and he put it up 34 times at the NFL Combine. Westerman has the traditional stocky build and tenacious demeanor teams look for in interior offensive linemen and he should fit in nicely with Paul Alexander's coaching style.
CBS Sports had Westerman ranked as the third overall offensive guard and the No. 61 prospect in the class overall, earmarking him as a second round prospect. There is a possibility Westerman has flexibility as a center, but, for now, Westerman will provide backup versatility, which the Bengals love with their offensive linemen. Marvin Lewis has said since the pick was made that Westerman will need to learn to be a backup center in addition to his backup guard role. The Bengals' head coach added that he "felt the intensity" that Westerman played with in college during the scouting process.
As a child, Westerman was labeled as too big to play football with the rest of the kids in the area, so he took up boxing and then transitioned to football as he got a little older. He initially went to Auburn to play football, but later transferred to Arizona State to anchor their interior offensive line.
Trey Hopkins is Westerman's current biggest competition, with the wily veteran Eric Winston having a spot on the roster as a guard and tackle. He fits in with the Bengals style of big, strong maulers with a mean streak.
Remaining Needs: S, K, WR, TE, DE
How to Watch the NFL Draft, Rounds 4-7
Date: Sat., April 30
Time: 12 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network, ESPN
Bengals picks: Round 6, Pick No. 199, Round 7, Pick No. 245.