Others may have had doubts about Cedric Ogbuehi’s draft stock after he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in Texas A&M’s bowl game in December. He had none.
“I knew for a fact I’d be a first-round pick,” said Ogbuehi, an Allen product. “I knew that I was going to recover well, and it all fell in place.”
Ogbuehi’s selection by the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 21 kept a number of Aggie streaks alive. It marked the fifth consecutive year A&M has had a first-round selection, with seven first-rounders overall in that span.
He follows former offensive line teammates Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews as first-round picks. Joeckel went No. 2 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, and Matthews landed with the Atlanta Falcons as the No. 6 overall pick last year.
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“Somebody told me their offensive line coach [B.J. Anderson] lost his job this year,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said, laughing.
Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander credits former A&M head coach Mike Sherman for the Aggies becoming Offensive Tackle U.
“They’re extremely well-coached,” Alexander said. “They do a great job there, obviously. I know they mentioned that they replaced their line coach. I can’t imagine why. This kid’s as well-coached as any kid there is, and the same is true with the [other] two left tackles.
“I think the thing that really helped Texas A&M is when they had the pro head coach [Sherman]. He’s an offensive line coach, so he was able to recruit top linemen to go to Texas A&M.”
Another Allen offensive tackle Greg Little, who ranks as one of the nation’s top recruits for 2016, already has committed to the Aggies, hoping to continue the tradition.
Joeckel, Matthews and Ogbuehi all were members of the Aggies’ 2010 recruiting class. A&M joins Wisconsin and USC as the only programs ever to have offensive linemen selected in the first round in three consecutive drafts.
“I mean, we all came in together, worked together, listened to the coaches and worked hard,” Ogbuehi said. “A lot of things came into it.”
The Bengals have the luxury of letting Ogbuehi fully heal, with left tackle Andrew Whitworth, right tackle Andre Smith and backup Eric Winston in front of him. But Whitworth, Smith and Winston all enter the final years of their contracts, so the selection was more about the future.
And the Bengals believe Ogbuehi’s future is bright.
“I… love him,” Alexander said. “Let me tell you, there’s no way we have a chance at this guy if he doesn’t get hurt. He’s a top-of-the-draft player. There’s no question that this guy has rare feet and athleticism that you see in the very best offensive linemen in the league.”
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760