clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Alex Redmond dark horse candidate to start at right guard

Alex Redmond is looking to carve out an NFL career in the Queen City.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Redmond is not only looking to make the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster this year after spending 2016 on the practice, but he’s even vying for a starting role.

Redmond has been seeing reps at right guard during OTAs, where the Bengals need a new starter after Kevin Zeitler left this offseason. Andre Smith is expected to be the starter at the position, but as he was out sick on Tuesday, Redmond received a chance to compete in his place.

The undrafted rookie who joined the Bengals in 2016 out of UCLA didn’t get a chance to compete in OTAs last year due to an NFL rule that prohibits rookies from participating in OTAs until their seniors have graduated. UCLA’s quarter system meant Redmond was still taking classes while his new teammates competed in OTAs, something that helped keep him behind the learning curve once he arrived for training camp.

“I was behind when I came in last year,” Redmond told My Dayton Daily News. “It was a pain in the ass not being able to be here, but these guys really help you catch up. They make you catch up.

“Just being able to be here now helps a lot. I was kind of guessing before, but now when we make a change on a play, I’m here to listen to that. I’m in the room getting all that information. So it just makes it a lot easier, along with knowing what my coach wants from me and believing in his techniques.”

In college, Redmond started 31 games for the UCLA Bruins during his final three seasons, primarily at guard. He started 10 games in 2015 before entering the 2016 NFL Draft and went undrafted. Redmond went on to make the practice squad and is now on the offseason 90-man roster, where he’s having a good showing in OTAs thus far. He reportedly received the bulk of the right guard reps when Smith was out on Tuesday.

Redmond is battling Trey Hopkins, Christian Westerman and T.J. Johnson for 53-man roster spots as backups, should he fail to unseat Smith. We’ve still got a ways to go before the final cuts are made, but it looks like Redmond is slowly creeping toward earning a 53-man roster spot. For now, he’s just worried about doing everything he can to improve his game.

“It’s mostly just cultivating my technique and believing in the system and running it the way the coach wants us to block, having our head in the right positions,” Redmond said. “I’m just trying to do everything that’s asked of him and waiting my time.”

Even though Redmond may be doing well in OTAs, the starting right guard role is Smith’s to lose, but history suggests he may do just that. He’s been injury-prone throughout his career, missing 21 games during the last three seasons.

That includes 12 missed games last season in his lone year with the Minnesota Vikings. Whether the 30-year-old lineman can make it through the 2017 season injury-free is questionable. So while injury could impact Redmond’s chances of unseating Smith, it’s also possible Redmond is simply a better guard than Smith, who’s spent his entire pro career at right tackle at has never played right guard in the NFL.

If nothing else, Redmond looks poised to go from practice squad body in 2016 to 53-man roster in 2017. He should be a fun player to watch this summer.