WDR is a little confused about the Bengals early announcement of moving Andrew Whitworth to left tackle, putting first round selection Andre Smith at right tackle, plugging in Nate Livings at left guard (and unrelated to this post, putting Kyle Cook at center). But apparently, with the 6th overall pick, the Bengals selected a right tackle, as announced earlier this week. This is rare as most of the tackles selected that high in the draft are put on the left to protect the Quarterback's blind side.
It's not a shock that Andre Smith would begin at right tackle in his first season but it is surprising that Marvin Lewis indicated that he would be a right tackle for years to come, and Whitworth would be the club's left tackle for years to come. ESPN's James Walker has a conspiracy theory. Walker explains his thought that the announcing of the move this early is indeed a little odd, correctly mentions that "With a team like Cincinnati, you always follow the money trail," and hypothesizes that it's a move to gain leverage in Andre Smith negotiations and ultimately pay Smith less money. Can anyone argue with this? Should these really be the underlying reasons for who goes where on our offensive line?
It remains to be seen whether Whitworth will be able to effectively transition to left tackle. It also remains to be seen whether Nate Livings, a former undrafted free agent, can be an effective left guard. Those are two large question marks on Carson Palmer's blind side. At the least, what can be said is that the O-line has red flags all over it. We now have legitimate questions at left tackle, left guard and center at a minimum. Right guard Bobbie Williams will continue to be Bobbie Williams. And although WDR is fairly confident Andre Smith can be an effective right tackle, if negotiations go sour and there's a holdout, another question mark may arise if he's significantly late to camp or we have to plug someone else in there because of the amount of time Smith misses. While it's difficult not to like the team's offseason moves, one cannot reasonably conclude that this line does not have red flags all over it for next season.