The Bengals traded up not once, but twice in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Both times they sacrificed one of their sixth-round picks. Both times they invested in the future of their offense.
With their third fourth-round pick, the Bengals selected Ohio State offensive lineman Michael Jordan. Jordan joins Jonah Williams as the second offensive lineman the Bengals have drafted this weekend and is now entrenched in the Bengals’ latest overhaul at the position group.
What Jordan brings to the Bengals
Size and athleticism: If anything, Jordan definitely looks the part. Standing at nearly 6-6 and 312 pounds with 34” arms, Jordan tested with great explosion and flexibility at the NFL combine. On tape, that athleticism translates well. He plays with balance in pass protection and explodes off of the ball in run blocking.
Combine that with his youth (he turned 21 in January) and Jordan enters the league with immense upside.
Thought #OhioState OL Michael Jordan looked better at guard than center. Very good timing and feel to adjust to where his second target is on combo blocks. Regularly opened up holes for his backs. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/EpAVxamPDs— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) April 25, 2019
Tenacity: A cliché perhaps, but Jordan is an angry blocker, often plowing his assignment to the ground. Some players have the athleticism to mirror and climb to their man but not the strength to drive them out of the gap. Jordan does.
Positional versatility: With the Buckeyes, Jordan started at left guard as a true freshman and stayed there for his sophomore season. He then was moved inside to center last year. With his aforementioned size and length, he could also play tackle if needed.
Why the Bengals picked Jordan
Future stability: The three guards that played for the Bengals last year are all entering contract years in 2019. Left guard Clint Boling has been with the team for eight years but may be entering his last season in Cincinnati. Jordan provides the Bengals a long-term replacement for one of their best players.
Competition: Behind Boling and newly-signed John Miller, Jordan joins Christian Westerman and Alex Redmond as the potential backups at the guard position. All three won’t be on the final roster, so this should scare both Westerman and Redmond.
Familiarity: Like Sam Hubbard last year, Jordan was a Buckeye that grew up a Bengals fan.
Michael Jordan said it has been his dream to play for the #Bengals since he was a kid.— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) April 27, 2019
Like most of us, he grew up watching the early Marvin Lewis days and had his own favorite players when he was first getting into the game.
Favorite #Bengals were Rudi J., Chad, T.J., Carson Palmer. Had a chance to meet Anthony Munoz as a kid. https://t.co/MUa5J1N7CQ— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) April 27, 2019
Jordan wanted to be here, and so did his former teammate Billy Price. Jordan and Price spent two years together starting on the same offensive line. In 2016, both manned the guard spots. In 2017, they played next to each other with Price at center. In 2018, when Price was blocking for the Bengals, Jordan followed Price’s footsteps and took over at center.
It’s safe to say Price is going to enjoy playing with Jordan once more.
Elite name: Only slightly kidding.