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Christian Westerman is the right fit at right guard

Christian Westerman’s 2017 film shows a player who should have seen more action. With the Bengals looing to run more zone, he is the right fit at right guard.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Last offseason, the Bengals lost their two best offensive linemen in tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler.

While the team traded for a new left tackle before this year’s draft, they still have not truly established their replacement for Zeitler. With the changes to the offense and coaching staff, the right fit for the position is a player who has been developing for the team over the past two seasons, Christian Westerman.

The Bengals’ offense has made some big changes up front this offseason. The Bengals traded back in the first round of the draft before selecting Ohio State center Billy Price and acquired offensive tackle Cordy Glenn from the Bills in the process.

They also moved on from long-time position coach Paul Alexander and brought Frank Pollack in to coach the offensive line. Pollack was formerly the offensive line coach with the Dallas Cowboys where he coached a line that opened big holes for Ezekiel Elliott primarily running the zone scheme.

With Glenn at left tackle, returning left guard Clint Boling, and Price the expected starter at center, the Bengals line is starting to take shape. The Bengals will have two fourth-year players in Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher competing for the position at right tackle and essentially competing for their futures as both enter a contract year after disappointing starts to their respective careers.

The biggest question mark is who will start at right guard. The Bengals return three players who are likely in the running. Trey Hopkins started his career as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and fluctuated between the practice squad and the active roster until earning the starting job in 2017.

Hopkins is strong and gets movement in the run game, but falls off blocks and struggles in pass protection. Alex Redmond also joined the team as an undrafted free agent, and saw some time last season due to injuries on the line.

The best option for the Bengals is Westerman. Westerman was a fifth-round pick in 2016 who the team selected due to value rather than need. He saw his first action in 2017 and started two games later in the season.

Westerman stands out on film as stronger and more technically sound than Hopkins and Redmond. He is a long and smooth athlete who is an excellent zone blocker which makes him a great fit for the team moving forward. He was also more efficient in pass protection.

When Westeman finally got the opportunity to play in 2017, he proved that he has what it takes to be a successful offensive lineman in the NFL.

The Bengals are looking to lean more on the zone running scheme in 2018 which is a perfect fit for Westerman and makes him the clear favorite to win the right guard position.