When it comes to the Bengals roster, there may not be a harder position to earn a 53-man spot at than guard.
That's what undrafted free agent Alex Redmond will look to do in 2016. Redmond, a two-time All-Pac-12 honorable mention, started 31 games for the UCLA Bruins over the last three seasons, primarily at guard. Redmond started all 13 games at right guard his first season and was named a Freshman All-American. He started eight games in 2014, and 10 in 2015.
The junior lineman entered the 2016 NFL Draft following the Bruins' regular-season finale and didn't play in his team's bowl game. He got some draft consideration this winter, but failed to hear his name called.
Now, Redmond will look to carve out an NFL career that will begin in the Queen City.
Position: Offensive Guard
Weight: 294 pounds
NFL Combine results: 40-yard dash: 5.30 seconds; 20-yard dash: 3.07 seconds; Bench Reps: 30; Vertical Jump: 28"; Broad Jump: 09'03" 20-yard shuttle: 4.90 seconds 3-cone drill: 7.75 seconds
CBS Sports had Redmond ranked as their 316th-best prospect, while ESPN Scouts Inc. has him at 314th overall. The guys at Scouts Inc. also provided some clarity on why Redmond left for the draft early, saying that Redmond was declared academically ineligible the week of his team's bowl game, but he forgoed his senior season because he wanted to begin earning money to support his daughter.
"I would say he shouldn't have come out, but I'm hearing he was having issues in school which is why he did it. That's important because we need to know if he's intelligent or if he has work ethic issues that are pro concerns. He's athletic but weak. Late round at best," a Pac-12 area scout said of Redmond via NFL.com.
That controversy still hurt Redmond's stock, though he did get invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Potentially of note, Lance Zierlein compared Redmond to Steelers center Cody Wallace in his draft profile.
There's already two studs in Clint Boling and Kevin Zeitler entrenched as starters. Veteran Eric Winston has worked as a backup guard, as has second-year riser Jake Fisher.
The Bengals also have backup center T.J. Johnson doubling as a guard. Trey Hopkins is a promising prospect after being on the practice squad last year. He was poised to make the 53-man roster in 2014 before suffering a preseason knee injury.
Did we mention the Bengals stole one of the top guards in this year's draft? Though Christian Westerman didn't hear his named called until Round 5, he's got a great shot of making the roster as a guard and possibly backup center.
That leaves Redmond facing some stiff odds to make the final 53-man roster, but the practice squad may be a different story.
If the Bengals keep two offensive linemen on the 10-man practice squad (they've done so in four of the past six seasons), Redmond doesn't have a lot of guys he has to beat out for one. Fellow undrafted free agents Alex Cooper, John Weidenaar, Aaron Epps and Trip Thurman are also contending for practice squad spots, but Cooper looks like the only real threat for a spot.
As long as Redmond outperforms those other guys, he has a decent chance of making the practice squad in 2016. The Bengals may lose Winston, Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth in free agency next year, while Johnson becomes a restricted free agent.
The good thing about going undrafted is players get to pick the situation they feel is best for them. While Redmond may not make the Bengals' roster in 2016, there's potential to make it in 2017 when all of those guys potentially leave.
Perhaps that's why Redmond picked the Bengals to sign with, so hopefully it works out for him.