Bengals sound hesitant to kick OT Jonah Williams inside to guard
When the Cincinnati Bengals selected Jonah Williams back in 2019, one of his apparent strengths was versatility. The Alabama product had notched plenty of starts at both bookend positions during his collegiate days and it was widely believed he had the ability to play along the interior at guard as well.
Since coming to the Queen City, however, Williams has been firmly entrenched at the left tackle position. The Bengals have dealt with a severe lack of talent along the trenches and the former first-round pick was the obvious choice to protect the blindside whenever healthy.
There’s a good chance that may no longer be the case after this offseason. Cincinnati finds itself in a prime position to add offensive line talent. Thanks to a deep draft class at the tackle position, there’s even a chance they could nab two bookends by the time April rolls around.
For most teams, that would be a problem. For the Bengals though, they may finally be able to tap into Williams’ versatility, kicking him inside to a guard spot. It’s not an idea offensive coordinator Brian Callahan seems too thrilled about, however,
"“I see Jonah as a young, ascending tackle and to move him at this point off the tackle spot would probably be a disservice to him. That’s not to say that’s not possible or could never happen, but I just think he’s done some really good things as a tackle so far.”-Via Bengals.com"
While Callahan doesn’t draw a line in the sand by saying Williams is a tackle only, it certainly sounds like the plan is to continue to have him protecting the edges rather than the interior.
Could Callahan’s comments tip the Bengals’ offseason plans?
If the Bengals believe they’ll get the best play out of Jonah Williams at tackle, there’s a good chance that it could impact how they direct their resources in replenishing the offensive line talent this offseason.
Let’s assume they’ve got Williams penciled in at one of the two tackle spots. That could indicate they would be relatively comfortable heading into the draft with plans to take a tackle in the first two rounds.
That would also point towards a higher likelihood of them investing in a guard like Joe Thuney during free agency rather than a tackle like Taylor Moton, which has already been presumed up to this point.
Let’s take it a step further and say the Bengals are able to land a tackle like Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater in round one. If they’re hesitant to move Williams inside, it will undoubtedly impact the direction they go in round two.
Even if an intriguing tackle prospect like Teven Jenkins, Jalen Mayfield, or Samuel Cosmi falls into their laps, they could very well be more inclined to nab an edge rusher, corner, or guard instead.
Of course, this is all speculation. One comment from Callahan doesn’t necessarily mean he’s on the same page with head coach Zac Taylor, de-facto GM Duke Tobin, or offensive line coach Frank Pollack. However, piecing together small bits of information like this can go a long way in accurately predicting how the offseason will play out.