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2018 NFL Scouting Combine: Which offensive lineman failed to meet the Bengals’ bench press threshold?

History tells us the bench press is important for the Bengals in drafting offensive lineman.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oklahoma vs Georgia Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Today, the top offensive lineman entering the draft will be the first to compete in on-the-field drills as they’ve always have been in the annual scouting combine.

But yesterday, they took questions from the media, and went through the first workout of their trip: the bench press.

Everyone knows what the bench press is, being one of the more basic weight exercises. The NFL has had it apart of the combine for the entirety of its existence, to give scouts and teams a look at how dedicated the participants have been in the weight room over the course of their collegiate careers.

Like for any drill in the combine, there is no league-wide consensus on how important the bench press is for players, but for offensive lineman, it’s a decent indicator more for those who don’t put up a decent amount of reps.

For the Bengals, their drafts in the Marvin Lewis era almost encapsulate the entire time period where combine data was made public, and the bench press seems to be an important factor in which offensive lineman they end up drafting.

Marvin Lewis has been here for 15 drafts, and has been apart of selecting 22 offensive lineman. Here are the draftees sorted by their reps on the bench:

O-linemen drafted by Cincinnati under Marvin Lewis

Year Name Pos Round Pick School Bench
Year Name Pos Round Pick School Bench
2014 Russell Bodine C 4 111 North Carolina 42
2016 Christian Westerman G 5 161 Arizona St. 34
2004 Stacy Andrews T 4 123 Mississippi 34
2013 Reid Fragel T 7 240 Ohio St. 33
2013 T.J. Johnson C 7 251 South Carolina 32
2012 Kevin Zeitler G 1 27 Wisconsin 32
2010 Reggie Stephens C 7 228 Iowa St. 31
2005 Eric Ghiaciuc C 4 119 Central Michigan 30
2011 Clint Boling G 4 101 Georgia 28
2006 Andrew Whitworth T 2 55 LSU 28
2005 Adam Kieft T 5 153 Central Michigan 28
2003 Scott Kooistra T 7 215 North Carolina St. 28
2017 JJ Dielman C 5 176 Utah 27
2009 Jonathan Luigs C 4 106 Arkansas 26
2008 Anthony Collins T 4 112 Kansas 26
2015 Jake Fisher T 2 53 Oregon 25
2015 Cedric Ogbuehi T 1 21 Texas A&M 23
2007 Dan Santucci G 7 230 Notre Dame 23
2010 Otis Hudson T 5 152 East. Illinois 21
2009 Andre Smith T 1 6 Alabama 19
2013 Tanner Hawkinson T 5 156 Kansas 13
2003 Eric Steinbach G 2 33 Iowa none

The raw average of this group is 27.76 reps, which per, is about two reps above the average amount for all offensive lineman. They have only drafted two offensive linemen who didn’t exceed 20 reps in Andre Smith and Tanner Hawkinson. They have only drafted one offensive lineman who didn’t bench at all in the pre-draft process in Eric Steinbach.

It should also be noted that five of their most recent seven drafted offensive lineman led their respective positions (tackle, guard, center) at the combine in reps. This includes J.J. Dielman, Christian Westerman, and Russell Bodine.

For interior offensive lineman, Bodine’s number of 42 really ups the average, but there’s still a healthy balance of high 20s and 30s in this group. For tackles, it’s the same story, though Smith and Hawkinson should be viewed as the exceptions, not the rules.

So, with these numbers in mind, we can cross off a few names, and should acquaint ourselves with a few others.

Tackles Orlando Brown and Tyrell Crosby both came into the combine with top-50 hype around them. both measured in with 35 inch arms, but ended up with two of the lowest number of reps for the entire group, 14 and 17 respectively. Brown has been a popular name linked to the Bengals in mock drafts, but 14 reps is really low for the Bengals standards. Without even looking at the rest of his underwhelming workout, the buzz around his name with the team should start dying down.

Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin said earlier this week that Quenton Nelson could be successful at any of the five positions on the offensive line. Nelson clearly is well liked all around the league, and his 35 reps on the bench should only provide kindling to his evaluation with Cincinnati. Nelson’s work on the bench was expected, as was his teammate Mike McGlinchey and Connor Williams from Texas. The former ended up with 27 reps and the latter finished with 26, both respectable.

Billy Price from Ohio State is regarded as the top center in this year’s class, but we might have to wait for Ohio State’s pro day to see his full performance on the bench. Price injured his shoulder after only getting up a few reps. The top center on the bench was Brian Allen from Michigan State with 28 reps. As a reminder, Dielman, T.J. Johnson and Bodine all had the most reps at the combine in their respective class.

Of course, all this data was collected under the years with Paul Alexander still on staff as the offensive line coach. New coach Frank Pollack may not value the drill as much as Alexander may have. We’ll start to get a better idea of that once the Bengals bring in these players for private meetings and workouts.