PAUL ALEXANDER Offensive line coach
PA: “Otis is 6-5 and 312 pounds. He has 34-inch arms and 10.5-inch hands. His size is exceptional. He runs a 5.1 in the 40-yard dash and has a 26-inch vertical jump. I don’t know if the numbers mean much or not, but he is a big explosive man with NFL talent. When he arrives in camp I think you will look at his body and see that physically he is a good-looking kid. He is a player that I can work with and develop. This is a challenge developmentally that we wanted to take.”
Q: Where do you see him fitting in on the offensive line?
PA: “I think he will work in at right guard. He played right tackle at Eastern Illinois. He started his career at the University of Minnesota. They played him on both sides of the ball and he became tired of that and transferred to Eastern Illinois. He found a home there and played right tackle.”
Q: Do you see a learning curve in front of him such as
PA: “He is ahead of Jason in terms of his experience. Jason had never played offensive line. The parallel is that they are both guys who have more ability than they do polished technique at this time. We felt at this point in the draft, take a guy with ability rather than another lineman who might not be good enough. He visited here and we interviewed him. He is a quiet guy, a good person.”
Q: It seems you like to draft players who can come in and you can mold to your system rather than taking players who are already a finished product for a given system:
PA: “I think we have always approached the draft that way. Not all draft picks work out, but when they do you have quite a buy. Otis has more athletic potential than many of the players drafted ahead of him. He has no background character flaws and we didn’t feel as if we were taking a risk. It is very important that when he arrives here he is comfortable and grows into the group. I look forward to the challenge of working with him because the kid does have talent.”
Q: Were you at all surprised by the pick?
OH: “I was very surprised. I was thinking that I was going to go as a free agent. Me and my agent were going to go over our options based on which team calls us. When I got the call from Cincinnati, I was like, ‘This is crazy.’”
Q: You started your college career at Minnesota and transferred to Eastern Illinois. How did that play out?
OH: “It was good. I got a lot of great experience. I started at right guard at the University of Minnesota. I learned a lot of things as an offensive lineman as well as a defensive lineman because they kept switching me back and forth. Overall, it was good experience for me.”
Q: It seems like you have a lot of versatility and you can play every position:
OH: “I’m pretty athletic. As the coach gives me a new job, I just take it as it comes. I try to be good at whatever position I am playing at that time.”
Q: How long did you play at Eastern Illinois?
OH: “Two years.”
Q: Paul Alexander said that you had visited here, so did you think that this was a place that you might end up?
OH: “When I took the visit to Cincinnati, I was very excited. (The Bengals) have guys I watch on TV all the time. It’s just a blessing to be playing for the Bengals now.”
Q: Where are you from originally?
OH: “Chicago. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.”