There have been no questions at the center position since 2011 when third-year man Eric Wood shifted from right guard to the pivot. With Wood’s sudden retirement following the discovery of a degenerative neck condition, what was one of the surest things on the offensive line has become the scene of the biggest battle for playing time along it.
In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we look at the newest member of Buffalo’s interior line.
Name: Russell Bodine
Height/Weight: 6’3” 308 lbs.
College: North Carolina
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Bodine signed a two-year deal worth $5 million in the offseason. For 2018, he’ll carry a $2.125 million cap number.
2017 Recap: Bodine’s play in 2017 did not exactly make it so that Bengals fans were sad to see him go. Pro Football Focus rated Bodine as one of the worst centers in football, grading him at 46.8 for the season, leaving him as the 25th-best center in the league. He only committed two penalties on the season while allowing one sack, both of which are very good numbers. Our friends over at Cincy Jungle were not too fond of Bodine, noting that he did improve marginally over his career (especially in the running game), but he was overall one of the worst offensive linemen on the team throughout his tenure in the Queen City.
Positional outlook: Only Bodine and Adam Redmond are currently listed as centers on the Bills’ official roster, but Ryan Groy is the player most likely to beat Bodine for the starting gig in 2018. Groy is capable of playing all three interior positions, and Bodine is a center only.
2018 Offseason: Thus far in offseason workouts, Bodine has been the nominal first-team center, alternating days in the role with Groy. The offensive linemen haven’t even put pads on yet, so it’s impossible to evaluate their performance, but the coaching staff looks to be setting up a heated competition for the center spot this summer.
2018 season outlook: Bodine’s contract pays him as if he will be the team’s starting center, but he’ll have to win a competition with another, arguably far more competent player in Groy before he can stake a claim to the role for certain. Bodine has never missed a game due to injury in his four-year career, and although the metrics suggest he is improving, he has still ranked as one of the worst at his position for the length of his career. Regardless, Bodine will be on the roster in 2018. His role is the only question mark.