<
>

Bengals' Bodine a top-10 impact rookie?

8/21/2014

CINCINNATI -- Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins and Johnny Manziel are arguably the most recognizable names of this year's rookie class.

It's clear that each of the first-round draft picks will have some type of big impact on their teams, for better or worse.

So, with that said, which rookie with the Cincinnati Bengals could leave a similarly large imprint on his team this fall? Darqueze Dennard? Jeremy Hill? Nope.

Try fourth-round pick Russell Bodine.

In its breakdown of top-10 impact rookies, Football Outsiders earlier this week predicted that Bodine, the Bengals' powerful young center would be among the first-year players fans will want to keep an eye on the most. That's primarily because after earning starting reps at center both in the spring and during training camp, the rookie appears in line to do all the snapping to starting quarterback Andy Dalton this season.

The full list of Football Outsiders' top-10 impact rookies can be accessed from the link above.

While the Bengals haven't formally named Bodine the starter, offensive line coach Paul Alexander gave the rookie a ringing endorsement on Monday, saying, "right now, it's full speed ahead with Bodine." If Week 1 were this weekend, Alexander said Bodine would be penciled in at the first-team center. That means he would be placed ahead of Mike Pollak, the veteran interior lineman who had been expected this summer to take over the center duties after longtime center Kyle Cook was released.

Pollak has been in and out of practices all preseason, as he's been easing back into action after rehabbing a sore knee much of the offseason.

Here's Football Outsiders' blurb on Bodine explaining why he will be one of the top-10 rookies to watch in the league this year:

The most important third-day rookie of 2014, the former North Carolina center is being handed a starting job for a playoff team whose offense has been dependent on strong offensive line play. Bodine not only has to take a step up from ACC defensive tackles to NFL defensive tackles, but he also has to learn the intricate system of audible calls and line checks the Bengals will be using in coordinator Hue Jackson's offense.

--Football Outsiders