Many would suggest that the Bengals need to go out and sign one of the biggest fish in the free-agent market or pull off a complicated trade in order to get their offensive line right. While signing a guy like Conklin or trading for a high-profile player like Trent Williams would certainly help, these rebuilds show it’s not necessary. That should be welcome news to Bengals fans who know the front office more than likely won’t make a move like that any time soon.
Each of the rebuilds did, however, have three key components. They all acquired a veteran to lead the group, found starters that were taken later in the draft, and developed the players already on their roster.
For the Bengals, two affordable veteran targets that stick out are Greg Van Roten and Earl Watford. Both are set to become free agents this off-season and have plenty of experience. For a team that will rely on young players such as Jonah Williams, their steadying presence would be welcome.
Beyond that, the team has young players already on the roster with a lot of talent. If developed properly, they could blossom into starters, just like some of the examples shown. Will Billy Price live up to his draft billing? Can Michael Jordan take the next step? The answer may have to be yes for both in order to get the unit up to par.
In addition, the front office would be wise to keep an eye on the waiver wire and trade market to see if they can add a key piece for a reasonable price.
Finally, the team will have ample opportunity to draft new faces along the offensive trenches in the 2020 draft. It will be important that they hit on their picks and get them ready for playing time quickly.
2019 PFF Rank: 30th
LT: Cordy Glenn (2nd round pick, 30 y/o) /Andre Smith (due to injuries)/ John Jerry (due to injuries)
LG: Michael Jordan (4th round pick, 21 y/o)/ Billy Price
C: Trey Hopkins (Undrafted, 27 y/o)
RG: John Miller (3rd round pick, 26 y/o)
RT: Bobby Hart (7th round pick, 25 y/o)
2020 PFF Rank: Top 5?
LT: Jonah Williams (1st round pick, 23 y/o)
LG: Michael Jordan/ Cordy Glenn
C: Trey Hopkins
RG: Earl Watford (4th round pick, 30 y/o)
There are many ways to go about rebuilding the offensive line. The Bengals have already tried the flashier approach, trading for Cordy Glenn and spending several premier picks at the position. Unfortunately, the results have left a lot to be desired, to say the least.
The suggested rebuild above follows the blueprint of some of the quickest turnarounds from around the league. It also aligns with the front office’s MO. If recent history is any indication, the Bengals could see themselves go from one of the worst units in the NFL to one of the best by following this path.