Low risk/high reward free agent signings could come in a pair of Cincinnati tackles
During the off-season every organization’s fan bases salivate and speculate at the idea of making that big splash free agent signing. The idea of filling a position of need with a superstar name is always a great way for a fan to gossip and think of how the team could get better. After all almost every fan is guilty of playing couch GM. I myself am more than guilty of the same thing. While I would more than love the team to make “splash” moves this offseason such as an Earl Thomas or Ndamukong Suh, it’s not always realistic or even the best fit to do so even though it’s appealing on paper. In fact often times it’s the low key unimpressive signing’s that go unnoticed that help make up the majority of a roster. Sometimes taking a risk or gamble can fill a need for a very cheap price.
At this point right tackle Sam Tevi should be trusted to be no more than a backup tackle in the NFL. It is imperative that the Chargers find a replacement tackle for next season in order to buy Philip Rivers more time in the pocket along with someone who can help open more running lanes for Melvin Gordon. While I do indeed want the team to draft an offensive lineman at some point during the draft, it is also important to not put all your eggs in one basket sort of speak. The team should also double dip at the position by taking a gamble on a player in need of redemption. They should look for some players with high upside that have fallen short thus far in their career, someone who is looking for a fresh start and change of scenery in order to salvage their day’s in the NFL. Someone for instance who is still young. Someone that can possibly be helped by a new set of coaches who may or may not be able to find something in their technique or mechanics that could help improve that player. Maybe there is a team out there who has trouble developing offensive lineman even though the talent is still there. I present to you Cedric Ogbuhei and Jake Fisher. Both Ogbuhei and Fisher where drafted back to back by Cincinnati in the 2015 draft, Ogbuhei in the first round and Fisher in the second round. Needless to say neither one has panned out and the Bengals continue their revolving door at the tackle position’s. Cincinnati is notorious for having trouble developing offensive talent so given the age of Fisher and Ogbuhei, one would think that they can still turn it around. Signing’s like this bring you little to no risk as they would inevitably come cheap, as they are looking to correct their career. It also adds bodies and competition that will need to be added to the pre-season roster regardless. If it doesn’t appear that the risk is working out then they can be cut before the start of the season.
Cedric Ogbuhei who was selected in the first round has great measurable. He stands at 6’5” and 306 pound’s. His arm length is nearly 36 inches which would make him the second longest reach in this class if he were to be drafted this year. This great for catching his blocking assignment as far out in front of him as possible. He has good strength as he put up 23 reps on the bench press back in 2105, so would imagine that after four years at the pro level that his strength has improved. There was even talk that the Bengals where giving him plenty of looks at the guard position during practices, yet that never transpired in an official game. This is versatility that the Chargers would welcome in training camp. It could give Ogbuhei a chance at a resurgence playing the guard position which would in turn allow the team to kick Forrest Lamp outside to right tackle and or vice versa. According to pro football focus he graded out much better with his run blocking with a grade of 70 while his pass blocking was a 44, so maybe the move inside is inevitable but maybe a new coaching staff can fix whatever may be plaguing him as a tackle.
The second option is Jake Fisher who basically has the same situation as Ogbuhei because he was drafted in the same year by the same team. Fisher is an inch taller standing at 6’6” 305 pounds. Fisher was highly regarded as an uber athletic tackle coming out of the University of Oregon, so much so that the Bengals even choose to use him as a tight end on double tight end packages in his rookie year. During the 2015 combine Fisher was a top performer at nearly every drill other than bench press in which he put up a respectable 25 reps. Fisher has suffered his fair amount of injuries which has no doubt hindered his development. Yet he has not fared well either when it comes to overall grades issued by pro football focus. He graded out as just a 56.2 overall however has a much higher grade in 2015 which points out that the potential is in fact there.