Whitworth dares Bengals to take his replacement

Fans love the NFL draft. The intrigue and the promise of hope are the reason it's been built into a spectacle with a buildup that stretches for three months.

While rookies enjoy their day in the sunshine, in the background sits another aspect of the draft, a lingering collateral damage: These rookies are being selected to take someone else's job.

Every player drafted has the potential to put another man's career in the balance. It can't be a fun experience for veterans.

Take for example, Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who will turn 34 this season, the 10th of his pro career. He's the oldest starting left tackle in the NFL and enters the final year of his contract.

While the Bengals could draft a future left tackle early -- NFL Media's Bucky Brooks has them doing just that in the first round of his latest mock draft -- Whitworth isn't worried about a young guy coming in to take his job.

"I've always had the opposite mentality," Whitworth said, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. "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."

Despite his age, Whitworth remains at the top of his craft. He was Pro Football Focus' No. 2 overall left tackle last season and its top pass protector.

"Right now, this is the strongest I've been in my life, most conditioned I've been in my life," the 6-foot-7, 330-pounder said. "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."

While Whitworth dares the Bengals to draft his replacement, the veteran said he'd be happy to take on a mentor role if the team brought on a young tackle. Teaching a player to take your job is one of the harsh idiosyncrasies NFL players must live with daily.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews the 2015 NFL Draft and breaks down the biggest rumors and storylines. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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