COMMENTARY | It's not often you hear a seventh-round pick being heralded as a potential star, but that's exactly what the Cincinnati Bengals may have found with former Ohio State offensive tackle Reid Fragel.
When you think of seventh-round selections, you mostly think of guys who serve as nothing more than training-camp bodies who go on to float around the league in various practice squads and camps before disappearing altogether.
That's not the case with Fragel.
With the No. 240 overall pick, the Bengals made Fragel their first selection of two picks in the final round of the draft.
Presumably, Fragel fell to the seventh thanks to his inexperience. After all, he spent most of his years playing the tight end position before putting on 20 pounds and moving to offensive tackle at the request of head coach Urban Meyer last season.
Even with a position change, Fragel showed he could be an effective blocker at the Big 10 level. He dropped to the seventh because he is an obvious project who needs to work on his technique before being ready to play at the NFL level.
Fragel couldn't have landed in a better position. He now has the chance to learn from one of the best the NFL has to offer in Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth. It will take years for him to develop, but the sky is the limit based on what he has shown so far.
This need for development does not mean Fragel will sit on the practice squad for a year. In fact, it's the exact opposite thanks to his versatility.
When we said Fragel couldn't have landed in a better position, we weren't joking. Cincinnati has been infamous for using unbalanced lines on offense in which an extra offensive lineman comes into the game and is eligible to catch passes out of the backfield.
For the past few seasons that guy has been Dennis Roland.
Roland now has some serious competition.
Remember how we said Fragel dropped in the draft because he is a converted tight end? That's exactly the trait that will land him on the final roster next season. His experience as a pass-catching tight end trumps what Roland brings to the table.
Now the Bengals have an extra offensive tackle to bring in whom, while likely not the best blocker at the NFL level yet, has spent his entire career catching passes.
This means the Bengals have an additional wrinkle on offense, whether that is near the end zone or anywhere on the field. It may seem obvious the Bengals would run with an extra offensive lineman like Roland on the field, but replace him with someone like Fragel who can catch passes and the defense's job just got that much harder.
In the redzone, add the threat of Fragel to A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and potentially Tyler Eifert and suddenly quarterback Andy Dalton has a lot of options.
The other bonus to having Fragel on the roster? You jump-start his development with live action in games rather than practices. He'll get in-game experience that will allow him to develop faster than any other teaching method.
Not to mention Fragel has the frame to add more weight. Under the guidance of Whitworth, he can develop the proper technique needed to excel at the NFL level. In four or five years, Fragel could act as the replacement for Whitworth if groomed properly.
It's not often fans should get excited about a seventh-round pick, but Bengals fans should be stoked about the addition of Fragel. He has the tools to contribute right away in a unique manner and could turn out to be a major cog in the machine a few years down the line.
Chris Roling is a graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report, Fansided, The Cincinnati Enquirer and more. He is also the co-host of a Cincinnati Bengals podcast, @BengalsCentral
You can follow Chris on Twitter @Chris_Roling
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