Players the Bengals can’t afford to have opt-out: Trey Hopkins
For now, Trey Hopkins is far and away the Bengals’ top offensive lineman, although Jonah Williams may take that mantle in 2020. Things already look shaky along the trenches for the Bengals but without their best player at their weakest position, the situation looks downright grim. Losing his experience and leadership would be a huge blow and make things even more difficult for Joe Burrow in his rookie campaign.
Stepping in for Hopkins would be the former first-round pick Billy Price. From what we’ve seen so far, there’s no indication that he can be a full-time starting center. In his defense, however, you have to take into account a pec injury that undoubtedly impacted his performance.
Either way, the former Ohio State Buckeye is better suited to play at guard, as his best collegiate performances came at the position. Not to mention, he’s needed for competition and depth there as well.
Players the Bengals can’t afford to have opt-out: Jonah Williams
The Bengals’ coaching staff is betting on Jonah Williams to hit the ground running. He has the potential to be a high-end player, opening up the run game and setting the tone for pass protection. If he’s out the door, a lot of the hope that surrounds the unit goes with him and the orange and black faithful saw what the situation at left tackle looks like when he’s absent.
With Williams out, Fred Johnson would step in to fill his spot. While he showed great potential down the stretch last season, the hope is he can take over the right tackle spot from Bobby Hart.
Simply put, losing Williams guarantees another year of below-average tackle play because it ensures Hart stays in the starting lineup and puts a ton of pressure on Johnson to protect Burrow’s blindside.