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T.J. Johnson to Bengals: How Does Center Fit with Cincinnati?

The Cincinnati Bengals used the No. 251 overall pick on T.J. Johnson.
The Cincinnati Bengals used the No. 251 overall pick on T.J. Johnson.Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2013

The Cincinnati Bengals were one of the final teams selecting in the 2013 NFL draft, and head coach Marvin Lewis and Co. surprisingly found value in the team's 10th pick. 

Said value came in the form of South Carolina center T.J. Jefferson with the No. 251 overall selection, placing him dangerously close to being Mr. Irrelevant. 

Alas, Johnson is not irrelevant, and the Bengals have found a prospect they like late in the draft who might be able to cut it on the practice squad next season.  

'Let's take a look at how Johnson fits with the Bengals. 

 

Role

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis attended the South Carolina pro day, so if there is anyone who knows Johnson should be prevented from hitting undrafted free agency, it's him. 

Johnson has solid size at 6'4" and 310 pounds, but does not do one thing in particular that stands out on tape. 

In Cincinnati, Johnson will be fighting for a roster spot with two centers already on the roster—Kyle Cook and Trevor Robinson. 

Robinson went undrafted last year and went on to steal the starting job from Cook. Johnson will be looking to do the same thing this season, which is a long shot with two capable players already on the roster, but Cincinnati is a good place to learn the ins and outs of the trenches thanks to left tackle Andrew Whitworth

The problem for Johnson is he has slow feet, which is something that could kill his chances in the NFL rather quickly. You can have all the size in the world, but if the speed to counter quick defensive linemen isn't there, you're going to be on your butt in a hurry. 

 

Early Projections 

Expect Johnson to land on the practice squad if at all with the Bengals next season. He is simply not going to beat out Cook or Robinson for a starting gig. 

He may have some versatility to try and steal a spot at guard, but that position is also deep and a roster spot will be hard to come by. 

All in all, Lewis and Co. see some potential in Johnson. Whether he can capitalize on said potential and stick with the Bengals' practice squad this season is up to him. 

 

All pertinent prospect info courtesy of CBS

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