Billy Price gains weight in hopes of competing for starting job
CINCINNATI — When the Bengals selected Billy Price with the 21st overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, they thought they found their center for the next decade.
So far, that couldn't be farther from reality. After being an ironman at Ohio State, Price has dealt with multiple injuries during his first two NFL seasons. Trey Hopkins beat him out for the starting center job in training camp last season.
Despite the adversity that he's dealt with in recent seasons, Price has a chance to salvage his career with the Bengals. He showed up to training camp in great shape, heavier than he was in the past and ready to compete for the starting right guard job.
"Billy Price obviously realized that coach (Jim) Turner likes big bodies, particularly inside. He likes the big body type," Dave Lapham said on the Bengals Booth Podcast. "He looks every bit of 325-330. He's put on some [weight] and it's not sloppy. He's thick. It's good weight. He's blown up. There's no question about it."
Price was listed at 308 pounds last season, so he's put on a significant amount of weight. He's competing with Xavier Su'a-Filo for the starting right guard job. They signed Su'a-Filo to a three-year, $9 million deal this offseason.
"You have to take it," Su'a-Filo said when asked about the starting job. "Everything's earned that way and I know that it's not going to be easy ever coming in to a new place with a new system with other players to complete. That's what I'm planning to do and I'm very, very excited."
The Bengals have plenty of question marks across the offensive line, but at least guys like Jonah Williams, Price and others are showing up in shape and ready to go. They don't need the line to be great, they just need them to be average.
Price allowed 29 pressures and three sacks last year according to Pro Football Focus. He played 494 snaps at left guard and 114 at right guard.
"As a teammate and as a coach, his [Price's] reaction is what you would hope for," Lapham said. "Instead of sulking. Poor me. Feeling sorry for yourself. Assuming the fetal position. 'Alright, I can either accept this or I'm gonna do something about it.' And he did something about it.
"It hasn't gone the way he's wanted it to, to this point in time, but he's not quitting on it. He's gonna try to do something about it and see if he can restart it and reboot."
Listen to Lapham's entire conversation with Dan Hoard on the latest episode of the Bengals Booth Podcast below.
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