Offensive line coach Paul Alexander thought his No. 1 pick looked A-OK.
With Tuesday's impressive NFL practice debut of first-round draft pick Cedric Ogbuehi, the Bengals were able to show off their almost bottomless array of options on the offensive line.
As talented as he looked without pads, it's believed that Ogbuehi won't be activated for Monday's game (8:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5 and ESPN) against Houston and maybe not for the game after that one since they have three weeks to make the call. But even though they're bringing him along slowly, offensive line coach Paul Alexander couldn't contain his excitement after a practice he put Ogbuehi at left and right tackle.
It was their first look at him since selecting him on April 30 with the 21st pick and six-and-a-half months later they saw enough Tuesday to believe Ogbuehi is the same guy they saw on film at Texas A&M before he tore his ACL in the Aggies' bowl game.
"He had some 'wow,' moments," Alexander said, and this is what Alexander means by wow:
"When people go to the horse races and all of a sudden they see one horse pull away and they go, 'Wow.' I think that's what football coaches mean when they say, 'Wow.' They see an acceleration which is different than the rest."
Alexander joked he put the 6-5, 310-pound Ogbuehi at both tackles, "To make (the press's) job harder to find out where he's going to play." The other rookie lineman, second-rounder Jake Fisher, has also been versatile playing at both right guard and right tackle.
Both starting right tackle Andre Smith (concussion) and right guard Kevin Zeitler (foot) didn't practice, so Fisher probably got some of Zeitler's snaps. Eric Winston played well in Smith's place on Thursday and is also an option at right guard if Smith goes and Zeitler can't.
Alexander tempered his remarks with the old-school reminder, "He didn't shut down Bruce Smith out there. He didn't do anything to be enshrined (in the Hall of Fame)."
But he took part in a session that didn't involve the reading of cards against the defense and is generally regarded as the most intense, up-tempo part of the practice, where Ogbuehi apparently showed off his top-five-in-the-draft-if-he-didn't-get-hurt athleticism.
"He's got a mountain of information to learn, but for the first day he did a good job," Alexander said.
When asked how far away Ogbuehi is from contributing, Alexander indicated it's a while with "half a mountain." But he also said Ogbuehi is farther along than the first day of OTAs because he's been studying his playbook and watching starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth.
"We'll take it one day at a time and today it was a good start," Alexander said. "He has a leg up. He knows the plays. He knows the calls. He's seen it. He's watched Whitworth do it all right. He's the best guy in the league to model because his technique is so good."
The vets gave Ogbuehi a hard time as he huffed and puffed through what they call "rookie entertainment," where Ogbuehi and Fisher do the bulk of the individual drills. Still getting into football shape, Ogbuehi had to catch some cardio through the razzing.
Cincinnati Bengals host Cleveland Browns in week 9 of the regular season.
But Ogbuehi has said in the days leading up the practice that the knee not only felt great, he didn't feel it at all. He said he'd been cleared for a few weeks but what he called "the numbers game," had backed up his return closer to the Dec. 1 date they have to make a call.
"I played four of the five (line spots) in college, so I feel pretty comfortable where ever they put me," said Ogbuehi, who didn't play center at A&M. "I feel more confident in the plays because I've been around here for a few month so I'm familiar with the playbook. I'm just real excited to get out there."
So, apparently, were his coaches.
"The guy is loaded with football talent, not just athletic ability," Alexander said. "But football talent."