Can Cedric Ogbuehi be a solid replacement for Andre Smith?

Posted at 12:51 PM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 13:00:17-04

This week, John Fay is getting answers to nine questions the Bengals face heading into the regular season. This is the fourth of the series.

CINCINNATI -- Can Cedric Ogbuehi be a solid replacement for Andre Smith at right offensive tackle?

If you don’t hear much about him, yes, he’s probably doing his job. Offensive linemen tend to be noticed only when they mess up. Smith, a former first-round pick, was the starting right tackle for five years.

But, if you believe Pro Football Focus ratings, it was time for the Bengals to move on. Smith peaked at 87.2 in the ratings in 2012. PFF named him first team All-Pro that year. Since then, he’s rated 79.1, 69.5 and 46.6. That 46.6 rating put him 50th among NFL tackles last year.

PFF has Ogbuehi at 68.3. That’s slightly below average. Andrew Whitworth ranked top among Bengal offensive linemen and fourth among tackles overall at 89.2.

The rating doesn’t mean much with Ogbuehi since he got a total of 73 snaps last year.

There’s a reason for that.

Ogbuehi also was a first-round pick. The Bengals took him 15th overall in the 2015 draft out of Texas A&M, knowing that he’d miss significant time his rookie yearrecovering from an ACL tear. Had Ogbuehi been healthy, he was projected as a top five pick.

He missed the first 10 games on the Reserve/Non-football Injury list last year. He played in the final five games, often as a big tight end. Ogbuehi is considered athletic. In fact, he’s projected long-term as a left tackle.

Oghuehi started the first exhibition game against Minnesota. He missed the next three with an injured toe. He said he could have played through it if it was the regular season. He’s expected to be ready to go for the Jets game. Jake Fisher, the second-round pick in 2015, also can play tackle.

“We allowed a good player (Smith) to move on, but we feel good about the young guys we have,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “You can’t control injuries, but I think we’ll be all right with these guys. And we’ve got a veteran who has played a lot of NFL football in Eric Winston. We are still in a good situation.”

John Fay is a freelance sports columnist; this column represents his opinion.

QUESTION 1: How will Bengals fare without Tyler Eifert?

QUESTION 2: Will Alex Erickson shine in regular season?

QUESTION 3: How much will Bengals miss Vontaze Burfict?