With their second pick in the first round the Bengals tried to improve their line on the offensive side of the ball. Guard is a need for the Bengals and in picking Kevin Zeitler, the Bengals probably improves the position on day 1 this season. Being a Buckeye fan, I got to see Zeitler play a couple times over the past few years and in that time the Wisconsin running game has been incredible.
I know some fans were a little angry the Bengals did not draft DeCastro. I wonder why these fans were getting so upset? Was it because so many “experts” claimed DeCastro was the better player? I highly doubt anyone did much research on the two players to know which one would fit the Bengals system better and this is why I have confidence in the Bengals coaching staff that the right decision was made. Below are some highlights about the Bengals new guard.
- First-team All-American by AFCA and Pro Football Weekly
- Second-team All-American by Yahoo! Sports and Phil Steele
- Honorable mention All-American from SI.com
- Consensus first-team All-Big Ten
- Co-winner of team’s Tom Wiesner Award (Wisconsin-born student-athlete)
- Academic All-Big Ten
- Invited to the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine
- Consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten
- Academic All-Big Ten
- Badger Power Award (weight room dedication)
- Preseason: Named third-team All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports
NFL.com draft report:
A perfectionist, Zeitler expects more out of himself than anybody else possibly could in class, in the weight room and on the field. His anxious, nit-picking is noticed, and not always well-accepted, by classmates, teachers and teammates. But it is opposing defenders who pay the price when the sum of his hard work pays off on the field. So, as expected, scouting reports show he does just about everything according to the book to his best ability – and he has plenty of ability. Zeitler added a significant amount of lean mass in his college career and used it well. According the NFL Draft Report statistics he led college football with 142 knockdown blocks and had 33 blocks that resulted
in touchdowns, obviously a major reason Wisconsin had a per-game average of 44.62 points and 467 total yards, including 237 on the ground.
STRENGTHS Zeitler displays very quick movement off the line and gets into his blocks quickly. He can blow a defender back and also drive his legs to sustain throughout run plays. He stands out in his work at the second level, where he has the ability to bend his knees and engage linebackers. He can quickly pull from his spot off the line.
WEAKNESSES Zeitler is a big man with heavy legs who at times labors to get moving when he needs to get out of his set and pull. His body control can be inconsistent at times, as he occasionally will whiff on linebackers. He is slower than desirable and is better off working in close proximity to his man to control the block.
FoxSports draft report:
A polished blocker that played for a school with a reputation of sending linemen to the pros, Zeitler seems likely to be playing in the NFL in 2012. As a senior in 2011, Zeitler started at right guard in all 14 games for Wisconsin and was a first-team all-Big Ten selection as he helped lead the way for Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball, who rushed for 1,923 yards and 33 touchdowns. Zeitler is a proficient run blocker using both quick hands and excellent lower-body strength to drive a defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage. He also displayed great balance, which helped in pass-blocking situations as he rarely got knocked over. Zeitler finished with 32 reps in the bench press at the NFL combine, tied for second-best among offensive linemen. While Zeitler is excellent in close quarters, he sometimes struggles to block linebackers when he is uncovered or on running plays designed to go to the opposite side. Despite lacking some quickness to get to the next level, Zeitler can dominate the line of scrimmage and excelled in a system that breeds offensive linemen.