The No. 1 topic ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft is Andre Smith. It’s been an ongoing issue for weeks now, but the subject of the right tackle has come to the fore again because without signing him to another new contract by Thursday, it’s possible that the Cincinnati Bengals will have to use their No. 1 pick to draft a new tackle.
There are other options, of course. The Bengals already have two offensive linemen waiting in the wings, Dennis Roland and Anthony Collins, and the two of them already have a proven track record to show that they are capable of doing what it takes to help the Bengals win.
After Smith broke his foot after six games back in 2009, both Collins and Roland did what it took to step up for the team, helping the team to a 10-6 season and winning the AFC North division in the process.
Collins was fantastic in particular, fighting hard to help the Bengals bring their record to 6-1 during the games he started in. Although Roland often has a hard time protecting against the pass rush, his height, weight and great hands have come in handy for the Bengals in the past. The fact that he’s has not started in many games for the Bengals is not a big issue, as he is a regular sight on the offensive line and is a necessity to the team.
Both Collins and Roland have proven that they have what it takes to protect quarterback Andy Dalton should the Bengals fail in signing Smith. Because of these two, there is hope that the Bengals won’t use a first-round pick on a new offensive lineman.
That said, they still will draft one somewhere, because even with Smith, there’s no guarantee they can cover the position correctly.
Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer. Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88