Buying or selling Bengals’ position groups: Offensive & defensive line
Offensive Line: SELL
Offensive line is the Bengals’ top position of worry heading into the 2020 season. Going into the offseason, many cited the o-line as the biggest need on the entire roster. To the dismay of many fans, the front office failed to do much to address the unit. In fact, it actually seemed as if the coaching staff was content with the line as it already is.
The only additions to the line are free agent Xavier Su’a-Filo and sixth-round pick Hakeem Adeniji. Su’a-Filo will compete for a starting job at guard, but isn’t much better than either of last year’s guards. Adeniji is just a rookie and likely won’t get playing time for at least a year or two.
While Jonah Williams will be back from injury and able to play for the first time in his NFL career, he may need time to develop into a solid left tackle. On the right side of the line, Bobby Hart and Fred Johnson will compete for the right tackle position. Johnson showed potential at the end of the 2019 season and may be the better option of the two, but neither should be expected to be a top tier lineman.
Trey Hopkins is a solid center, but the other interior linemen are unproven. Michael Jordan is expected by many to break out in the second year of his career, but a weak 2019 would beg to differ. The right guard position is open for competition, although the options aren’t too exciting.
If the offensive line doesn’t get their act together in 2020, it could be a rough first season for rookie Joe Burrow. The line could be the difference between the Bengals making the playoffs or missing the playoffs.
Defensive Line: BUY
While the offensive line is the Bengals’ biggest weakness, the defensive line is their biggest strength. This may have already been the case after the 2019 season ended, but after the 2020 offseason, it’s even more true.
The Bengals added an elite nose tackle to their line with the signing of D.J. Reader from the Houston Texans. Reader will be paired up in the interior with potential future Hall of Famer, Geno Atkins. On the edge, Carlos Dunlap, Sam Hubbard, and Carl Lawson all give the Bengals a dynamic attack from the line.
With a young group on linebackers, the defensive line’s potential dominance will be crucial to the front seven’s success. There won’t be many offensive lines that can block the Bengals’ linemen.