One of the biggest surprises of training camp has been fourth year offensive lineman Trey Hopkins, who spent the last two years on the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad, following his rookie year, which was spent on the Injured/Reserve list.
Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander has already hinted at Hopkins’ potential to start at right guard and on Saturday at the team’s Family Day scrimmage he played right guard, left guard and even center at times for the white-jersey first team.
Alexander spoke more about Hopkins following the scrimmage, offering some more praise.
“I’ll say this, he’s at least the sixth guy,” Alexander said, via Dayton Daily News.
Alexander considering Hopkins for multiple positions. Said if he's not in top 5, "he's at least a sixth guy."— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 5, 2017
The line has been inconsistent during camp, with some good days and some bad.
“We (the offensive line) started out camp real strong, then the last two days we hit a wall,” Alexander said. “It gets to that point in camp, we’re at that point now, where the whole playbook is in, and then minds start going crazy. And then you push through it and the first preseason game usually looks like hell. And then it gets better each week.”
The anticipated starting offensive line is Cedric Ogbuehi at left tackle, Clint Boling at left guard, Russell Bodine at center, Andre Smith at right guard and Jake Fisher at right tackle. But, it seems Hopkins is contending for that right guard spot, too and Fisher is being considered as a backup left tackle option, according to Bengals.com. So if Ogbuehi struggles, it’s possible we see Fisher at left tackle, Hopkins at right guard and Smith at his former right tackle spot.
As of now, Alexander is still figuring out the best five guys to man the offensive line, and it’s safe to say only Boling is 100 percent safe at left guard.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Alexander said of his line, “but it was a heck of a lot better (on Saturday) than it was the last couple days.”
With the Bengals kicking off the preseason on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we’ll learn a lot more about what the future of this line holds when the live game action begins. It’s safe to say the anticipated starting lineup at offensive line may not be the same come Week 1 as it is right now.