It’s been a disappointing start to the 2020 season for the Cincinnati Bengals but at the very least, left tackle Jonah Williams is emerging.
It has been well documented how poorly the Cincinnati Bengals have drafted offensive lineman recently. Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher, and Billy Price were all taken with premium picks but failed to do much during their tenure in stripes. However, it appears that Duke Tobin and the rest of the front office hit big on one of their most recent selections along the trenches when they opted to draft Jonah Williams.
After Williams lost his entire rookie season due to injury, he became an afterthought to many, mostly due to all the change surrounding the organization. Joe Burrow, the rest of the rookie class, and a historic free-agency spending spree would cause the incumbents of any organization to take a back seat.
Although, after a rocky start to the season for the offensive line, Williams’ name quickly surfaced once more. Was the former Alabama standout part of the ever-lasting problems Cincinnati has faced in protecting their signal-caller?
Six weeks into the season, Williams’ play has answered that question with a resounding “no”.
Jonah Williams’ valuable versatility
According to Pro Football Focus and the eye test, Jonah Williams has been Cincinnati’s best offensive lineman by a wide margin, grading 7.5 points higher than the next best player at the position. Considering he was the least experienced among the starting five, that’s quite the feat.
While the promise he has shown this season has been welcomed by the orange and black faithful, his upside only gets better. The Bengals clearly have a lot of work to do this offseason and they need to upgrade the line wherever and however they can.
Williams is looking comfortable at left tackle, but he has the capability to play either guard position or flip to the right tackle slot. After all, he did play both bookend positions during his collegiate days.
No matter what happens throughout the rest of the season, the Bengals know they have at least one of the five offensive lineman positions figured out. It might not sound like much, but it’s more than could be said in previous years.
Williams provides the front office the luxury of allowing free agency and the draft to play out naturally without having to force anything.
A star guard becomes available on the open market? Great, keep Williams at left tackle. The team finds itself in a position to draft Penei Sewell, who fits better at that left tackle spot? No worries, Williams can flip over to the other side.
Williams will only get better as the season wears on and his versatility will only become more valuable as the years progress. For these reasons among others, the 2019 first-round pick has solidified himself as the anchor of Cincinnati’s offensive line for the foreseeable future.