Coming into training camp, Landon Lechler was hoping to earn a spot on a Cincinnati Bengals team that was severely lacking offensive line depth.
However, the emergence of several other lineman has made it a severe longshot that Lechler is able to accomplish his goal of making the 53-man roster.
Weight: 317 pounds
College: North Dakota State
Position: Offensive tackle
Hometown: Beach, ND
Lechler is under contract with the Bengals through 2019, although none of his salary is guaranteed. Therefore, the Bengals can release him at any time without penalty. If he makes the roster in 2017, he will make $465,000, which accounts for his cap hit, per Spotrac.
Before signing with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in May, Lechler was one of the better FCS offensive linemen in recent years. Lechler started at right tackle for three years for the North Dakota State Bison, a span that saw them win the latter two of its five straight FCS national championships in 2014 and 2015.
In 2016, Lechler was named to the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team while playing right tackle. He started every game there during the 2014 and ‘15 seasons as well.
During the pre-draft process, Lechler was able to meet with the Bengals and offensive line coach Paul Alexander. That made it easy for Lechler to pick Cincinnati when it came time to sign an UDFA deal after having already visited the facilities.
"I was really fortunate to be out there on a visit a little after Easter. They brought me out to tour their facility, and I got a physical done," Lechler told The Dickinson Press. "I had established a relationship with Paul Alexander, the offensive line coach there, and Coach Robert Couch, the assistant, and I felt really comfortable with them. When they called after the draft and worked with my agent on the contract, it felt pretty comfortable, and I knew it was the right fit."
It just so happened the Bengals needed help at both tackle spots, though more with depth as Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher man the starting spots. Eric Winston has looked like a shell of himself in training camp and the preseason, while Andre Smith was expected to start at right guard at the time of Lechler joining the team. That made it seem very possible that Lechler would be able to earn a roster spot with a good showing in training camp and the preseason.
However, the emergence of Trey Hopkins at right guard has pushed Smith back to being a backup tackle and guard, making it very difficult for Lechler to make the roster.
Now, Lechler’s best bet is likely the practice squad, which is also a tall task with guys like Kent Perkins, Alex Redmond and possibly Christian Westerman vying for spots there. Though, Redmond and Westerman still have a good shot at making the roster. Lechler has spent time at tackle and guard thus far, so perhaps that will help his push for a spot.
The Bengals love keeping versatile lineman on the 53-man roster and 10-man practice squad.
Roster Odds: 2.5 percent.