Jets 4-Game Starter Designated to Return to Practice: Report

Cedric Ogbuehi

Getty New York Jets offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi is reportedly on his way back from injury.

The New York Jets have had some major issues on the offensive line in 2022.

As the season has gone on, this unit has been obliterated by injuries to the point where even the replacements have gotten hurt. One such fill-in was right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, who general manager Joe Douglas swiped off the Houston Texans practice squad.

Ogbuehi started four games after both George Fant and Max Mitchell went down — as well as projected right tackle Mekhi Becton who was lost during training camp. His run with the first team ended after he picked up a groin injury against the Chicago Bears.

That groin ailment forced Ogbuehi onto the injured reserve but after four weeks on the pine, it appears the offensive tackle could be getting close to a return.

Jets OT Cedric Ogbuehi Called on to Start After Return

ESPN NFL insider Field Yates was the first to report on the news, tweeting: “The Jets have designated OT Cedric Ogbuehi to return to practice from IR. He’s eligible to play as soon as Sunday against the [Seattle] Seahawks.”

Not long after, football news site uSTADIUM quote tweeted Yates, voicing that “[Ogbuehi] should start at RT” and that “Fant has been rough” since returning from injury.

It’s true, Fant has been nothing like his 2021 self after his knee operation over the offseason. In only seven appearances this year, he has allowed the second-most quarterback pressures (23) on the roster according to Pro Football Focus — tied with center Connor McGovern and trailing guard Laken Tomlinson (28). The difference is Tomlinson and McGovern have started in all 15 games.

That poor display has yielded a pass blocking efficiency rate of 95.6, which is worse than every other Jets O-lineman outside of Mike Remmers and Conor McDermott (no longer with the team). To be fair, Ogbuehi was only mildly better, at a 96.1 efficiency rate (nine pressures in five appearances).

Neither has graded out well as a run-blocker either, but Fant’s other issue has been the excessive number of penalties. He’s already been flagged seven times this season (most of any Jets lineman), while Ogbuehi has only been penalized twice.

With Mitchell done for the year, the case can certainly be made that — once fully healthy — Ogbuehi should replace Fant as the starting right tackle for the remainder of the season.

Revenge Game for Cedric Ogbuehi vs Seahawks

If Ogbuehi were to return in Week 17, it’d be a revenge game for the former Seahawk. After entering the NFL as a first-round draft pick with the Cincinnati Bengals, the blocker bounced around the league playing for four franchises in four seasons from 2019 on.

That doesn’t even include the Texans or the Bengals, who he obviously spent time with both before and during this transition into journeyman status.

One of those four organizations was Seattle, who started Ogbuehi four times in 2020 (eight appearances total). The following season he was placed on the injured reserve early on and eventually released by the Seahawks, joining the Baltimore Ravens almost immediately after becoming available.

Ogbuehi has not found a consistent NFL home since his rookie contract expired with the Bengals. He’s been below average with the Jets so far, but maybe he can play well enough to earn a new deal over these final couple of weeks — and potentially, a playoff berth if things break right.

The Jets only have five offensive linemen under contract in 2023 (Alijah Vera-Tucker, Becton, Mitchell, Tomlinson and Duane Brown). Douglas will need to find and replenish his depth one way or another, and Ogbuehi could at the very least be auditioning for a backup tackle role next spring.

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