With the Bengals’ recent trade for left tackle Cordy Glenn, the team made it abundantly clear Cedric Ogbuehi is no longer the man that they want at that position.
While that’s good news for Andy Dalton and Joe Mixon, what does it mean for Ogbuehi? Is he destined to ride the pine, sitting behind Glenn, subbing in if Glenn misses time?
Or could Ogbuehi bring value at another position on the offensive line?
It’s arguable whether Ogbuehi at left tackle or former Bengals center Russell Bodine was the weakest link on the team’s abysmal offensive line in 2017. Either way, Bodine is now with the Bills, while Ogbuehi is under contract for one more season (two, if the Bengals pick up his fifth-year option).
So, could the Bengals maximize their dollar and could Ogbuehi find new life, replacing Bodine, as the Bengals’ next starting center?
At first thought, some might consider Ogbuehi to be the wrong shape and size for center, with his tackle proportions, standing 6’5” and 300 pounds. But consider that both left guard Clint Boling and right guard Trey Hopkins measure in at 6’4”, and backup center T.J. Johnson is also 6’4”. At 300 pounds, Ogbuehi only weighs 10 pounds less than Boling, Hopkins, Johnson, and former starter Bodine.
More importantly, the NFL’s top center, Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, measures 6’4” and was coached by current Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack. If Ogbuehi has a potential home at center, Pollack certainly seems like the coach who could find out.
Even if Ogbuehi’s size isn’t a deterrent, could Ogbuehi actually succeed at center, when he struggled mightily at right tackle and left tackle?
Yes, he could.
Remember back to his college days, Ogbuehi played multiple positions on the offensive line and was better at guard than tackle. Ogbuehi only played one year as a left tackle in college, and wasn’t that great at it. But he was actually a good guard.
With his poor tackle technique Ogbuehi has always struggled with defenders rushing at him with a head of steam; they regularly abused him. But lined up inside, this factor is somewhat mitigated, and he surprisingly held his own while at Texas A&M when he played guard. Ogbuehi has the strength and athleticism to turn a defensive lineman. And sandwiched between a pair of guards, he’s not going to be susceptible to an edge rusher getting around him.
Ultimately, if the Bengals move Ogbuehi to center, he’s probably not going to be an All-Pro. He isn’t going to be known for driving big defensive tackles off the ball, but it would be a breath of fresh air just to see a Bengals center not taken into the backfield on every single snap. With the Bengals’ left tackle position now seemingly secure, the team might as well try to find a home for Ogbuehi and upgrade the center position at the same time. It never hurts to try.