When constructing their 53-man roster, the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line tends to include several players with experience at multiple position.
With only 53 spots available and eight to nine of them able to be afforded to big uglies, it's critical to have versatile players who can play different positions throughout a 16-game regular season. That's even more true of those final few backup players who make the team.
Guys like T.J. Johnson, Scott Kooistra, Dennis Roland and Mike McGlynn have made the roster in recent years not because they played one position that well, but because they offered the ability to be backups at multiple spots along the line.
That's what Trip Thurman hopes to do as he vies for a shot at the 53-man roster or practice squad this year. An undrafted free agent out of Florida, Thurman was a quality lineman for the Gators while playing several positions during his career. He started six times at left guard, five at right guard and three at center in 2015.
In 2014, Thurman played in all 12 games and started 10 times at left guard. That season, he was part of an offensive line that allowed just 17 sacks, fourth-fewest in the SEC. Despite his production and versatility, Thurman went undrafted this year, then didn't sign with a team until he tried out with the Bengals, who later signed him.
Weight: 307 pounds
Pro Day: 40-yard dash : 5.34 seconds; 20-yard dash: 3.04 seconds 10-yard dash: 1.88 seconds; Bench Reps: 21l Vertical Jump: 29"; Broad Jump: 08'07"; 3-cone drill: 7.75 seconds
According to Spotrac, Thurman signed a three-year, $1,620,000 contract with the Bengals as an UDFA, including an average annual salary of $540,000. In 2016, Thurman will earn a base salary of $450,000 if he makes the final 53-man roster. The most he can make in one year comes in 2018 with a $630,000 base salary. If Thurman remains with the Bengals through 2018, he'll become a restricted free agent in 2019.
This offseason has been an interesting one for Thurman, who almost walked away from football altogether. A history of shoulder injuries had Thurman debating whether to pursue his NFL dreams or step away from the game.
Get to know the Bengals' roster
Thurman did, however, participate in the 2016 NFLPA Bowl, and that shoulder injury did not keep him from playing. Still, that's a bit concerning as he enters the NFL, where he's going to have to hold up against far more powerful and explosive players.
It's worth noting that Thurman was one of just three players, and the only offensive player, to start every game for the Gators in 2015. He was voted a team captain by his teammates, and as mentioned earlier, has started games across the offensive line over the past two seasons.
Chances of Making Roster
While his chances of making the 53-man roster are slim, Thurman still could earn a spot on the practice squad if he can effectively play guard and center. Thurman is already facing a lot of competition in the trenches just to get practice reps in camp and the preseason, so he needs to make the most out of every chance he gets.