We spoke with Kalen Jones and Joshua Nacion, two writers at House of Sparky, SB Nation's Arizona State blog. They spilled all on Bengals fifth round draft pick, Christian Westerman who many believe is among the steals of the 2016 NFL Draft. What should Bengals fans be excited to know about the versatile offensive guard? Find out from fans -- and bloggers -- who closely cover ASU football.
Cincy Jungle: When were you expecting to see Westerman drafted?
Joshua Nacion: Somewhere in Day 2. Many mock drafts had Westerman going between rounds 2-4, but nowhere near where the Bengals ultimately picked him.
Kalen Jones: I was expecting him to go anywhere between the early third and the late fourth. I think most were surprised to see him selected in the fifth, considering NFL.com's Mike Mayock, among other prominent draft pundits, had him rated as a top-five guard in this class.
CJ: What were his strengths in college?
KJ: His strength is, well, his strength. Westerman came into the season regarded as one of the strongest offensive lineman in the country. In ASU's zone-running scheme, he was asked to pull often, and when he gets a full head of steam going into the second level, he poses a problem for defenses.
JN: As Kaelen said, his strength is his strength. He recorded the most bench press reps out of anyone in this year's combine, and he delivers with his prototypical stature.
CJ: How about any weaknesses?
JN:The only thing I would think of is consistency, and he struggled with the rest of the offensive line in pass protection at times.
KJ: Personally, I thought he could’ve been more consistent maintaining a low-pad level.
CJ: What do ASU fans know Westerman best for?
JN:I would say Westerman is best known in Tempe as the blue-chip prospect from nearby Chandler, Arizona who could've lived out his career in SEC country at Auburn, but came back to be a hometown hero.
KJ: For arguably being the most highly-regarded offensive line prospects to play for the program within the past five years. Westerman was a blue-chip prospect coming into school. They’ll remember him for his brute strength and good play over the course of his career.
CJ: Did he have any injuries in college?
JN: Westerman did have a nagging ankle injury at Auburn that saw him miss significant time, which appeared to be a factor in his decision to transfer out of Auburn and into ASU. When he came to ASU, he was one of the few linemen that actually managed to stay healthy all season.
KJ: He started all 13 games in the 2015 season.
CJ: He seems like a great guy, any red flags or questions about him?
JN: No red flags at all. He's quiet, but humble.
KJ: Great guy (his firm handshake will reveal that). No red flags I can think of.
CJ: I know he played a lot of different o-line positions. Where did he play best and what position do you see him playing in the NFL?
JN: Definitely left guard, but he could definitely move over at the other guard and other teams before the Bengals considered putting him at center.
KJ: Left guard is where he looked the most comfortable. I’ve read articles shipping for him to play center at the next level. He’s smart enough to.
CJ: Was there a reason he bounced around the line so much?
KJ: Out of necessity. While ASU produced a guard in last year’s draft (Jamil Douglas, Miami Dolphins), the Sun Devils have struggled to stay healthy up front in recent seasons. Westerman’s versatility was viewed as a commodity.
JN: As Kaelen said, it was because the offensive line got banged up a lot and always had a pretty major turnover before both of his season at ASU.
CJ: In some of his draft profiles, it mentioned he doesn't have the length to be a guard in the NFL. Was that noticeable during his time at ASU?
JN: Not really. His strength seemed to have compensate for his lack of length.
KJ: I wouldn’t say it was alarmingly noticeable. Westerman is pretty twitchy in-game. Length won’t be an issue if he’s winning at the point of attack, which he can.
CJ: Who would you compare him to in the NFL?
JN: Ditto off of Kaelen on Joe Hawley.
CJ: Is there anything else you'd think Bengals fans will want to know about him?
JN: This former Arizona State player won't commit any unnecessary penalties, we promise.
KJ: He’s quicker than his Combine numbers suggest, and should find his way into the rotation soon.