BENGALS RG CLINT BOLING VS BROWNS DT PHIL TAYLOR
A draftnick's dream. Two rookies going head-to-head on Opening Day.
The 6-5, 311-pound Boling, the Bengals fourth-rounder from Georgia, takes on the 6-3, 335-pound Taylor, the Browns first-rounder from Clemson. It is a big subplot because the theme of this game is who survives in the trenches as each team tries to protect young quarterbacks playing their first games in a new system.
It is also the first Bengals Opening Day without Bobbie Williams at right guard since 2003 and the debut of the Browns 4-3 defense.
So who better to break down this one than draft guru Rob Rang, senior analyst for of nfldraftscout.com. Rang was there at the South practices during the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., back in January and saw Boling and Taylor bang heads every day.
"Boling more than held his own in the one-on-one drills against him and Taylor wasn't as dominant as I thought he would be. But in the scrimmages Taylor showed that it's hard for any guard to move him off the point. He's a big man with great physical strength. Taylor has a real thick trunk and he holds up well on double teams. At the Senior Bowl he clogged up the running lanes and he didn't make many tackles but he made it easier for his teammates. He's an ideal nose guard and I think they're going to use him a lot shaded toward the center."
Rang doesn't see Taylor athletic enough to run down plays, but says he's a physical specimen that will be a test for Boling's strength and says that any guard, not just a rookie, is going to have a handful trying to move Taylor.
"Boling anchors pretty well. He's got good core flexibility. He's not a pure drive blocker. Strength was a question, but he's a technician whose versatility and technique is what made him attractive to teams because he's savvy and has a lot of experience playing up and down the line."
Rang is interested to see how the players hold up after no spring conditioning and OTAs. He says Taylor had some weight issues in college while Boling had nothing of the sort while starting at both guards and right tackle in 49 games.
"It's a great matchup because they're both solid players that are going to be adversaries for a long time. Taylor is a load. Boling is a smart, technically sound guy and was picked where he was because he was seen as one of the safest interiors players. Every team in the league wants a guy like that."