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The Andy Dalton Contract; Good for both parties!

Initial Thoughts: This is the exact situation that I wanted for the Bengals this year.  I know that some people wanted to make Andy “play it out,” but I was not one of them.  This way the media will not be talking about this all season.  Andy can just go out and play football without having to answer questions about his contract after every game.  It brings some form of stability at the position so they can get AJ Green to sign long term now too.

This was the perfect deal for the Bengals, and for Dalton. Dalton doesn’t have to play a year where he makes 1 million dollars with the risk a major injury costing him big-time.  He gets essentially 25 million in guaranteed money for 2 years.  He gets 17 million in bonuses now and his same 1 million dollar season base salary, and 7 million next year. Dalton would have to play pretty bad to get cut when only making 7 million bucks next year, don’t you think?  The structure of the deal is great too, more on that later, just an example.  If Dalton takes this team one round further each year, he will win the Super Bowl in 2017 and will make 110 million over the life of the deal.  That means he will average 15.5 million per year over the 7 years of the deal.  That’s definitely less then market value for a guy that went to the playoffs the last three years.

The structure of the deal was magnificent.  If you don’t trust what Katie and Marvin are doing now, you are living under a rock.  Marvin texted AJ Green as soon as Dalton deal was done and told him to call his agent he is next.  He gets it and is a defacto Coach/GM.  Now, let’s get back to the structure of this deal for Dalton.  For those who think Dalton is not the guy, there are outs after two years.  For those that want him to “prove himself” he doesn’t make real big money unless he goes deep in the postseason.  For those that worry about needing money for AJ and Vontaze, his contact is small in the early years to leave room for other signings.  This can’t be compared to the Flacco deal because he wasn’t under contract when he signed it.  Flacco got 6 years 120 Daltons is basically 7 Years 98 million plus 17 million in escalators.  They didn’t let Dalton play out his deal and get Flaccoed like the Ravens did; Flacco’s deal is way more difficult to get out of.

I really think Dalton is a smart guy, he knows he is not Peyton Manning, he will need weapons.  He didn’t want to break the bank; he wants to keep his toys on offense and the big players on defense.  This is a great deal for both sides and I could be happier.  This will give him confidence to not play timid this year and to win in big games.  Simply put perfect deal, sign AJ, sign Tez, and go get that Lombardi Trophy!

Bengals would be dumb to cut before year two, since he would be $7mil in year two. So two years $25mil is basically guaranteed. Once he reaches a level it doesn’t regress.
Full breakdown below
No escalator/2nd Rd(WC win or Bye)/AFC Champ/SB win
2014 –> $17 million plus original $959,000 base salary.
2015 –> $7mil/$8mil/$8.5mil/$10mil
2016 –> $10.5mil/$11.5mil/$12mil/13.5mil
2017 –> $13.1mil/$14.1mil/14.6mil/16.1mil
2018 –> $13.7mil/$14.7mil/$15.2mil/$16.7mil
2019 –> $16mil/$17mil/$17.5mil/$19mil
2020 –> $17.5mil/$18.5mil/$19mil/$20.5mil
Plus $1.2 million in total workout bonuses at 200K per year.

Basically cut out the franchise tag and avoided getting Flaccoed!
No escalators
One year $18 million
Two years,$25 million
Three years, $35.7 million
Four years, $49 million
Five years, $62.9 million
Six years, $79.1 million
Seven years, $96.8 million

Bengals Player Preview: Victor Hampton

Victor Hampton

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 197 lbs

Age: 22

College: University of South Carolina

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Even the biggest Bengals fans might not know the Victor Hampton story.  Unless you bleed orange and black and love draft prospects, you probably don’t know much about Victor Hampton.  You’re in luck, I happen to be one of those weirdo’s that watches tape of prospects, and fans think lives in my parents basement and eats Totino’s pizza rolls.

As an undrafted free agent, like all of his fellow UDFAs, he is a longshot to make the squad.  He does have one thing on his side, that’s talent.  He is not an UDFA that was not selected because he cant play and is invited to be a camp body.

Hampton has a checkered past and teams passed on him because they didn’t want to use a pick on a guy who might bring a distraction to camp. He even lost his starting job because of poor effort last year, even though he was clearly the most talented cover corner.

If you like Vontaze because he talks trash, well then you will love Hampton, as he is a chatterbox.

Hampton  has great instincts from the CB position and is excellent at tracking the ball in the air.  He needs to work on his consistency in his run support.  He is not big enough to just throw his body at people, which he does, and he rarely wraps guys up.

I wont get into too much detail on his game play he will be one of the UDFA featured in my article that will come out right before camp.  It will go over all of the UDFA with my typical play breakdowns and analysis.  He played in 8 games as a junior totaling 43 tackles and 3 INTs.  He did return some punts for South Carolina last year but didn’t have much success, so I don’t suspect that he will be used in the role for the Bengals.

Its going to be tough for him to crack this lineup at CB, especially with all the 1st rounder’s in front of him.  With Dennard, Jones, Newman, Hall, and Kirpatrick all locks to make the roster, that leave the rest of the guys to fight for likely one roster spot.

It will be quite the uphill battle for all of them.  If Hampton stays out of trouble and shows flashes of his talent, it will come down to him and Westbrooks for the last spot.  He will need to have success in the slot in his preseason games to win the last spot.  That is the best spot for him to backup with his skillset, and his small build wont matter as much against smaller slot receivers.

 

If there is a sting of injuries, look for Hampton to have a real shot at the roster.  A spot could open up if Hall is not fully recovered for the start of camp, let’s hope it is not the case but that could be another way for a spot to open.  Hampton may feel like Sisyphus in camp, but if he keeps putting in work he will at least get a spot on the practice squad, if not picked up by another team.

Video link via gamecocksonline.com

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Cincinnati Bengals Player Preview: Linebacker Vontaze Burfict

Vontaze Burfict

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 248 lbs

Age: 23

College: Arizona State University

Hometown: Corona, CA

Experience: 3 Years

If you have turned on a Bengals game the last two years, you know who Vontaze Burfict is. He led the team in tackles for the last 2 years. In 2013 he lead the team by nearly 100 tackles, and more importantly, led the team by 62 solo tackles. He doesn’t miss in the open field, and that is extremely clutch.

Burfict finished the year with 174 tackles, 114 solo, 3 sacks and a forced fumble. He is the most important guy on the defensive side of the ball.  He is in charge of calling all the plays and getting people lined up correctly, something Maualuga struggled with.

Most astonishing with Burfict is where he was drafted, or for that matter, that he was not drafted.  He was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school on both Rival and ESPN’s rankings, and was the No.1 MLB recruit in the country.  His attitude, penalties, weight gain, poor pro day, and terrible combine left a sour taste in many teams’ mouths.

This year, we can expect that Vontaze will be back at his WLB spot barring a major plague of injuries at LB before the season.  So what can the else can King Tez do to make himself better in 2014?  It will be hard for him to add much more to his 174 tackles from 2013, but he could improve a bit in his pass coverage.

His biggest issue is still penalties, and by that I mean he needs to work on eliminating them. I do think that referees target him and he gets a few cheap ones each year that totally bogus, but some he definitely deserves. Having James Harrison to learn from last year really helped him to walk that fine line between being intimidating and being penalized.

As his linebacker coach Paul knew how to get the most out of Vontaze, this year will be no different. Paul will lean on Vontaze to be his eyes and ears on the field, consulting with him for in game adjustments.

When Thomas Howard went down with a torn ACL in Week 2 of 2013, 3 days before the next game, Guenther had to scramble. Take your best athlete and teach him a new position, how he did that is just remarkable. He took to the gym at Paul Brown Stadium with chairs to teach Tez the basics of playing WLB.

Guenther is reportedly the one that was the mastermind of most of the exotic blitzes that Zimmer ran, so expect to see Tez blitzing more this year. His instincts make him great and it is the reason that opposing offenses fear him, he finds the ball and often.

He is so important to this teams success because he makes plays that swing the momentum of the game, like the forced fumble TD versus the Browns.  That game had a chance of going sour fast with the early INTs by Dalton, but the defense quickly took the wind right out of the Browns’ sails.

Marvin Lewis has made many references to Vontaze being “special” and that he looks a lot like “another guy he has coached in the past,” referring to Ray Lewis.

My prediction 160 tackles, 105 solo, 4.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions.

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AFC/NFC North chat, would you swap Josh Gordon for Andre Johnson if you were Ray Farmer

What to do with Josh Gordon? Will he get his life straight? Is he the next Odell Thurman?

What teams in the NFC and AFC North are the best fits for Andre Johnson?

We discuss all of that, so just tune in below!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nationalgridironnetwork/2014/07/11/the-coldfront-with-jason-marcum

Victor Hampton

Victor Hampton can he shed his past for his Bengals future?

Victor Hampton, CB, South Carolina

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 197 lbs

Bench press reps: 20 (top marks for CB)

40 yard Dash: 4.51

Vertical leap: 33.5″

Initial Thoughts: Hampton is a talented player, but after watching the tape I can see why teams passed on him.  He had off the field issues and struggles to support the run.  When the ball is in the air he is one of the best players that I have watched at competing for the ball.  He can let his attitude effect his play.  He was benched before a game and then was not active in run support for most of the game.

He will need to work on his run support and man coverage.  In the slot he will mostly be in on passing plays, where he excels.  With the additions of Dennard and Westbrooks this year I only give Hampton a 5% chance to make the 53 man this year. I think the Bengals will want him to prove he can stay out of trouble for a year and stash him on the Practice Squad.

I give him a 100% chance to make the PS as long as he stays out of trouble. If he doesn’t clear waivers and a team scoops him up, it’s not really a loss since he was a UDFA.  He could take Terence Newman or Adam Jones’ role in 2015 if he is still with the Bengals.

Strengths:

  • Has great instincts and breaks on the ball well.
  • Is exceptional at tracking and contesting balls in the air.
  • Lives in the big moment and plays with swagger
  • Plays well in zone coverage and has good hands for deflecting passes and INTs.
  • Has lots of talent and physical ability.  Has experience in the slot and on the outside so he is versatile.
  • Has good quickness and fluidity of his hips; Had one of the fastest 3-cone times.

Weaknesses:

  • Lacks the size to effectively contribute in run support, and rarely finishes a tackle.
  • His aggressive approach to going to make tackles causes him to miss a lot of them and take bad angles.  He tries to push guys out of bounds or wait for help from his teammates.
  • Character concerns go all the way back to high school with him; he will need to keep himself out of trouble to have a shot.
  • The first sniff of a problem, and he will be sent packing instantly.
  • He is very chirpy on the field; will need to walk the line with this to avoid penalties.
  • Really needs to work on his man to man coverage, he lacks ideal top end speed.
  • His small stature makes if difficult for him to play bump and run coverage successfully, and can get caught up in blocks.

Key Plays vs Arkansas: (note: lost his starting job before this game)

1) Dances around the running back on the play, allows his teammate to make the hit and tackle (0:24)
2) Reads the QBs eyes and breaks on the pass for the INT.  Has a decent runback on after the catch as well. (0:33)
3) Working out of the slot he flies up to make the tackle and whiffs. (1:35)
4) Fails to breakdown on the play and the RB shakes him with a stutter step.  He flails at the RB to make the tackle and falls on his back unsuccessfully. (2:00)
5) He is responsible for holding the backside edge.  The runner cuts back he breaks down and just throws his pads at him and doesn’t wrap up (2:14)
6) He has a chance to stop a big play with an open field tackle, he dives at his feet and whiffs completely.  The runner gets an extra 25 yards.

2) Interception Play
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Key Plays vs Mississippi State:
1) He does a great job of sitting in his zone coverage and breaking up the throw as it arrives.  As a result his teammate is able to make an INT. (0:39)
2) The smoke screen is thrown to the WR inside of him.  He sheds the blocker and comes up to make the tackle, unfortunately he misses the tackle. (1:13)
3) He waits for the WR to make is move and makes a big hit on him over the middle. (1:53)
4) He is the deep shell in the zone coverage; he is on the seam route but sees the throw and breaks on the ball.  His quick hips allow him to make up ground and he deflects the pass before it can get to the intended WR. (2:00)
5) There is a miscommunication on the play he thinks he has the flat 1/3 but he is supposed to be deeper.  He realizes the hole in the coverage and makes an acrobatic pass breakup.  After the play he talks to his teammate and realizes it is his mistake.  He takes ownership with the coaches for the error. (3:51)
6) He works against the WR on the fade route to the corner.  He keeps within arms reach of the WR and tips the ball away. (5:45)
7) He is guarding the blocking WR on the screen play.  He sheds the block then strips the WR of the ball as he makes the tackle.  It shows his great awareness and instinct to go for the knockout blow.

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Final Thoughts:
If you just looked at the tape of Hampton, he would have been drafted.  It was his off the field antics that cost him hearing his name called.  Hampton got some bad advise from his agent.  He should have gone back to school for one more year.  That would have improved is stock in two ways.  He could have stayed out of trouble to build trust with teams, and added more quality game tape.

Regardless Hampton is in a good spot with the Bengals. He can get leadership from the likes of Newman, learn how to change his ways from Jones, and how he can dedicate to run support from Hall and Dennard. The problem with the Bengals is that they have five former 1st round picks in front of him.

If they only keep five CBs this year, which is very possibly, he has zero shot at the 53-man roster.  However, after 2015 one or more of those spots could open up.  If he is able to stay on the practice squad (PS) here, that might be the best thing for his NFL career.  He can practice and learn from some of the best at the position in the NFL.

My prediction: Hampton makes it to the final cutdown day and is offered a spot on the PS.  I’m not 100% convinced that he will clear waivers.  If he makes it to late September and has not gotten in trouble, a team with injuries at the position may claim him. 

James Wilder

James Wilder Jr. UDFA to Final 53?

James Wilder-RB (FSU)
Height: 6’3” Weight: 232 lbs
40 yard dash: 4.86 Vertical Leap: 32”

Initial Thoughts: He definitely has the talent to be on an NFL roster as the short yardage guy.  The problem is for him they have a vet in BJGE they can keep in that roll with added character and leadership, even if Hill would go down.  He has the look and the NFL bloodline with his dad being a former pro bowl RB with the Bucs.  I see him as an insurance policy in case they lose BGJE, Hill or both in training camp or the pre-season.  He will get his fair share of touches in the pre-season though. I assume the Bengals will have their mind made up on BGJE at that point and will be protecting Hill for the long haul by limiting his workload.  His combine measureables are not great, but are what were expected.  Chances to make the team barring no injuries in 2014 about 5%, chances for the practice squad are 100%; unless he gets arrested.  Even if they let BJGE go they will likely go with Burkhead and Peerman.  I think they see if he can keep his nose out of trouble while learning the offense in 2014.  He will be the short yardage backup to hill in 2015 and I give him a 75% of making the final 53 next year.

Strengths: He has the NFL back and looks the part. He has a strong build, and was used sparingly at FSU (only about 225 carries all time).  Possesses a great stiff arm and well balanced for a guy his size.  Stays behind his pads and absorbs contact well, does well at breaking tackles and getting YAC.  High upside possibility and low risk for the Bengals, could be a good battering ram in the future.  He does well at pushing the pile with his leg strength and drive.  With his body type and attributes he is a perfect between the trees type of runner, when he stays north/south he excels.  Averaged 7 YPC in 2013, but was stuck behind Freeman on the depth chart, who was drafted in the 4th round.

Weaknesses: Not very elusive, doesn’t really have the foot speed to string moves together.  This causes him to have to slow down to make his cuts, which allows him to get caught from behind at times.  Not a shake you guy has to use the stiff arm or absort the hit and keep his feet moving to break tackles.  Character concerns are obvious; he was arrested multiple times at FSU.  Lets his pad level get to high, running upright will cause him to get stood up in the NFL and increase his risk of injury when taking big shots to the midsection.  He has had durability issues and this is the main reason.  He didn’t get a pass thrown to him in the limited tape I had access too.  In his combine tape he chest catches almost all of the passes, when he has pads on this will certainly lead to drops.

Key plays vs Miami:
1) Sees opening in the B gap early on and disregards his lead blockers to the A and C gap shoots the gap.  The hole quickly closes in front of him since he has no blocker so eat up the LB approaching.  He lowers his pads and absorbs the contact, keeps his balance, and keep his feet churning for the TD. (0:18)
2) Good read of the play, correctly follows his blocker and has a huge opening.  Unfortunately he gets his foot tripped up by the LT and falls for a short gain.  (0:52)
3) Great sweep run, uses a stiff arm to stop the would be tackler.  He keeps his feet and dives for the pylon to get the TD. (1:15)
4) Winston fumbles the snap and he alertly notices this and runs back over to place a block for Winston and buy him some time.  (2:08)

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NFL Draft Scouting Report; Russell Bodine Project or Potential Starter

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Russell Bodine
HT: 6’3″ WT 310 Lbs
Pos: C/OG
School: North Carolina
Arm Length: 32 1/2″
Hands: 10″
40 yd dash 5.18 sec
Bench Reps: 42
Vert: 29.0″
Broad Jump: 109.0 INCH
3 Cone: 8.26 SEC
20 yd shuttle: 4.66 sec

Initial Thoughts:
I think that most Bengals fans, if not all of them, wanted this team to find a better option than Kyle Cook before the 2014 season. Kyle had his flash in the pan season, but those days have come and gone. Recently he has been more like one of those revolving doors in the Chiquita center, than he has been an NFL linemen. In the end he was not strong, or big enough to get any push on the mammoth NTs that he went up against in the AFC North.

We all knew the solution would have to come in the draft; it’s not in this team’s typical workings to make a splash in free agency. This year’s draft class was talked about as being thin at the Center position, and I was worried that would cause a real issue for the Bengals. The top Centers would most certainly be over drafted, the buzz about the top Centers was at a quiet roar by draft week. The Bengals did the right thing and waited for a guy that they liked to fall in their lap. They had a third round grade on Russell Bodine and Paul Alexander really, really wanted this guy. As he slid into the middle part of the forth they traded up to get their guy. They had an extra sixth round pick and with this roster that pick was unlikely to make the final 53 anyway. According to the Bengals draft board, it was a good value to move up, but questions remain for Paul Alexander. Can he harness this incredibly strong, but raw man-beast and turn him into a road grater?

Strengths:
He is incredibly weight room strong he had the max bench reps with 42 at the combine. He is a high character player with no red flags, went to a military academy. Bodine embraces the role of being one of the “Big Uglies” in the trenches. He is not afraid to mix it up and protect his teammates, has a nasty streak and plays through the whistle. He has the ideal size for an NFL lineman, is a big barrel chested man with great speed for his size. Workout warrior, he had top marks at the combine for bench press and vertical leap. No real injuries in his history, he is durable and tough (I saw his leg/ankle get rolled up on in a game, he missed a play and went back in). He is great at getting to the second level but struggles to connect on those blocks. He has a strong plant to stop the initial push from DT, seals off well in the running game for backside runs. He is a versatile player that can play G or C if needed, although I think the Bengals see him as only a Center for this year. Has experience in running silent snap counts, which is a critical asset in todays NFL thanks to Peyton Manning. Is better in a man blocking scheme then he is in a zone blocking scheme, he is a smart player so I think he just needs to be coached up here.

Weaknesses:
He lacks ideal agility, struggled with his cone drill times at the combine (slowest 3 cone time). He doesn’t use his size to his advantage as much as he could, settles with the cut block too often. Can let his pad level get to high and get push off the point of attack. Overextends himself and loses leverage on the play. Sticks to his block a little to long sometimes leaving his guards with no secondary help. When he has to move a lot getting to the second level for screen plays and pulling for sweep plays, his poor mechanics cause missed blocks. Lacks ideal recognition of who he should be blocking on the second level when reading the defense.

Key plays vs. Boston College:
1) He completely whiffs on his block and gives up a sack 3:45 (2nd play Breakdown below)
2) Get’s out well on the screen play, but misses the block downfield that would have sprung the TD (5:00) (1st play breakdown below)
3) He makes a good block to lead the run play and pushes the DT off the POA. He finishes the block by driving him into the ground. (5:45) (3rd play breakdown below)
4) He does a good job of selling the run then getting out on the screen, but misses his block on the second level. This is unfortunately something that recurs in his tape and something the Bengals need him to do well. (7:14) (4th play Beakdown below)
5) He pulls with the guard but misses his block and runs over his own guy (7:43)
6) He makes a good weak side seal on the play and allows the QB to escape the pocket for positive yardage. (7:53)
7) He holds his block and seals the DT to the strong side alley, allowing the run play to develop behind him for the TD. (8:20)

2) Screen play breakdown that uses the Silent snap count

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1) Missed block that causes a sack breakdown

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3) Bodine wins the POA on the run play

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4) Bodine smoke screen play breakdown

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Key plays vs. Virginia Tech:

1) He pulls left to lead the run sweep and connects on the block knocking the defender down. (1:07) (gif below)
2) He gets beat to the outside of his block, it forces the QB to scramble and get tackled for a loss. Holding was called on him during the play too (2:08)
3) Successfully chips the DT and gets out in front of the screen play. Finds the closing LB in traffic and cuts off his angle to the RB allowing him to get by and break off a big play. (2:22)
4) Wins the point of attack (POA) on the short yardage QB sneak,(something the Bengals need) allows the QB to get the first down. (3:17)
5) Seals the A gap to the left and wins the POA pushing the DT back. The run play is able to follow through the alley created behind him. (3:35)
6) Shows off his upper body strength, shoving the defender engaged with the RG to the ground. (3:55) (1st Play breakdown below)
7) He doesn’t hold his block long enough on the WR double reverse play. The defender sheds him and forces the WR to cut back inside and is tackled for a loss. (4:15)
8) They are in a diamond offensive set (pretty much declaring run) that is a variation of the pistol or T formation. He wins the POA on the DT and allows the RG to finish the block. Aggressively works to get to the second level and blocks the LB, creating an alley for the play. (4:28)
9) He misses his block and gives up the QB sack. The very next play he gets knocked down and his defender tackles the RB in the backfield. (5:15)
10) He makes a good cut block of the DT and opens a hole for the RB. (8:08)
11) He gets blown off the POA and pushed into the QBs lap, giving up a QB sack. (8:15) (He does get his ankle rolled up on the play. He toughs it out and plays the rest of the game.)
12) He does a good job getting to the second level and cutting the safety in the run play. (11:30)

Game Summary: This was the worst game of his that I watched. He really struggled with the exotic defenses that Boston College threw at them. Part of this could have been that his teammates were making the mistakes though. They did start two freshman next to him. If it was him that made the errors he will really have to put his nose in the book and get in the film room. The Steelers and Ravens are known for their exotic looks, cutting edge defensive fronts, and blitz packages. They didn’t line up over him much in this game and made him move to get to the POA. When he got there he did fine but he definitely struggled initially.

1) Bodine makes a quality pull block on the run sweep

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6) He assists with the block on the RG and knocks the DT down using his brute strength. This is definitely a play that Paul Alexander saw and it has him licking his chops!

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Key Plays vs. Cincinnati:

1) He does a good job on a left side pull block of locating the defender and cutting him successfully. I would still prefer to see him stay up in these situations and bull guys over. In this case his cut was effective so you cannot really fault him. (1:12) (1st Play Breakdown below)
2) He loses the POA badly and is pushed back collapsing the pocket around the QB. The pressure in the face of the QB forces an earlier throw and missed opportunity on the big play downfield. (1:22)
3) He does a good job of making the initial contact and then passing off the block to the RG. This allows him to help the LG that was starting to lose his seal. (1:45)
3) He is moved to LG and has a good back side chop block of the DE in pursuit. (2:37)
4) He is pulling to the right from the LG position. He does a good job of getting in front of the play, but does a poor job of recognizing the person he should block. He blocks a whole lot of air and the play goes for no gain. (3:42)
5) He allows himself to get way to upright on the play, then gets blown off the POA right from the start. Luckily the QB throws the ball quickly and avoids the sack. Talk about being put on a pair of skates…that is this play in a nutshell. (3:53)
6) He has a good stretch of plays on a series that leads to a TD. It is capped off with a good cut block and a good chip of the safety on the scoring play. (5:53)
7) He moves back inside to play Center (6:05)
8) He does a good job of getting to the second level and keeping the LB away from the ball carrier. (9:41)
9) He properly gets out on the screen play and forms a wall with the guards. The RB cuts back inside instead of following the block for a big gain. No fault of Bodine’s that the RB made the improper read. (11:37)
10) In another instance of his poor downfield recognition he gets ahead of the screen play, then proceeds to block no one. (12:24) (2nd Play breakdown below)
11) He makes a good cut blow on the DT allowing the QB time to turn the corner on the designed QB run. (13:17)
12) He gets too aggressive and overextends on his block, causing him to lose the POA and get beat. (13:57)
Game Summary: This game did show you a few of the big reasons that the Bengals had Bodine high on their board. He played both LG and C in this game, and he showed his raw strength multiple times. He controlled the point of attack most of the game and especially in the second half. His main areas of concern were his missed blocks and inability to decipher which guy to block on some of his pulls and screen get outs. There were only a few times the whole game were he lost the POA badly and Cincy had a pretty good run defense this year. The versatility that he showed in this game allows the Bengals flexibility down the road. If a elite center falls in their lap in the draft or FA he can slide over to guard.

Here are two quick videos showing Bodine with the opposite extremes on the POA. One with him winning convincingly; the other he is put on skates:
Reminder:
He is the Center on the left play, and the LG on the right one.

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1) Bodine successfully pulls left and seal off the defender:

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12) Breakdown of Bodine pulling and missing his blocking assignment:

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Final Analysis:

This is the pick that I think will surprisingly define this draft class. If Paul Alexander can make the rough edges on Bodine’s game shiny this draft could be a huge haul. It will provide a buffer in case Clarke doesn’t pan out or Hill gets himself in trouble (although he has looked very grounded so far). Bodine definitely has the build and strength to be a top Center in the league. He is a perfect fit for what the Bengals want to do this year; punch you in the mouth, then do it again.

He will benefit from the 3-4 schemes that all the other teams in the AFC North run. The NT will almost always be lined right over him, unless they are in an exotic front. Then it will simply be the question can you transition your incredible lifting strength onto the field. I think we have to trust Paul Alexander’s eye for talent, he got his guy now he needs to mold him into his next Anthony Collins. The best thing about Bodine is the Bengals drafted a strong, prototypical build, with big upside at Center. It’s not likely that a rookie Center will receive promising marks if you put a lot of weight into Pro Football Focus plus/minus system, as Paul Dehner pointed out earlier this week. The one thing I can say is most of the Centers that are drafted high enough to start are on bad offensive lines. This surely contributes a bit to their low numbers. With the guys around him I think Bodine will grow quickly. He is a very smart player Paul Alexander and his fellow linemen are singing his praise already.

“He’s had a good spring. He’s really mature for a young guy. Smart. He knows football. He’s really been very impressive. The center is the brains of the operation. And he can do that.” –Paul Alexander

“(Bodine) has the characteristics we are looking for in a center. It’s not that Trevor (Robinson) hasn’t, we just put him in there for right now. He’s got to get the ball to the quarterback right. He needs to do a better job of snapping the ball. He can’t play center if you don’t snap the ball correctly. He’s working at it and he’s done a good job. But he’s got to become a little more consistent on an everyday basis.” -Hue

Jackson

“He’s picking stuff up quickly. For somebody who has only been live in the offense for two weeks, he’s definitely improving every day. He knows the situation. He’s not freaking out about it. He’s taking it in stride and he’s taking it to heart.”- Kevin Zeitler

After just a few days with him I would say those are some pretty high praises from the three most important people he needs to impress. The guy to his right in the trenches, his OL coach, and his OC.

I think the ideal situation is he gets the lions share of the snaps in the preseason, as guys get healthy. He then can sit behind Pollock in the beginning of the season and when he is ready send in the steamroller. At that point Pollock and Boling can fight over the LG spot. Is he going to make some plays this year that make you want to pull your hair out? I’d bet my 401K on it. Is he going to plant some guys on their asses paving the way for Gio or Hill to break off for a huge gain, I’ll bet my 401K on that too. The Bengals obviously have a plan and Bodine fits that plan, the Bengals don’t trade up…ever; yet they traded up to get a guy that throws up 225lbs like the rest of us throw back 12oz curls tailgating at PBS. That in itself should tell you something this guy has some major potential.

Leave your comments and feedback on the article below or tweet me, I welcome discussion on the article or other Bengals draftees
These screenshots came from videos from draftbreakdown.com
Special Thanks to Andrew Q for adding extra videos for this article.
Shot out to my guy Animal_like_me for helping me to stave off the grammar police.
Combine stats and measurements courtesy of NFL.com