Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth wants his team to draft a tackle so Whitworth can prove he’s better
The drafting of a new top prospect is great for fans, but for the player who currently occupies that prospect’s position on the team, it likely means a demotion at best. Many fringe starters may be dreading draft day, hoping their team won’t end up using a high pick on their replacement.
Not Cincinnati’s Andrew Whitworth, though. In fact, he welcomes it.
Whitworth, the Bengals’ 34-year-old left tackle, dared the team to draft his replacement in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I’ve always had the opposite mentality,” Whitworth said when asked whether he was worried that the team would draft his replacement. “Mess up and draft somebody at my position because you are going to sit around and watch him sit the bench. That’s always been my mentality. I see it as a challenge.”
Whitworth is entering his tenth NFL season and would most likely be the oldest starter in the league at his position next season. But the 6’7″, 300-pounder says he isn’t feeling the effects of his age just yet.
“Right now, this is the strongest I’ve been in my life, most conditioned I’ve been in my life,” Whitwoth added. “I don’t see the door that’s closing. This is the strongest I’ve ever lifted in my career. I feel like I’m as fast or faster than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m in the best shape ever.”
There’s no word on whether Whitworth’s dare was a regular dare, or a double-dog dare. If it was the latter, the Bengals would be obligated by playground law to draft his replacement.
In all seriousness, despite his age, Whitworth hasn’t given the Bengals any cause to move on from him just yet. In fact, he was one of the best tackles in the game last year; Pro Football Focus rated him as its no. 2 overall left tackle last season and its top pass protector.
So while it’s always tempting to replace an older player, the Bengals might want to hold off on that for now. There’s no reason to waste a high draft pick on a position of strength, when the team could just as easily upgrade a position of weakness. Players like Walter Jones have played, and played well, deep into their 30s. Considering last year’s performance, there’s no reason to think Whitworth won’t follow suit.