The Bengals‘ offensive line was not good in 2020 and as a result, rookie quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow was injured and missed the final six games of the year. Upgrading the offensive line was a must for the Bengals and they’ve done so this offseason.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus is impressed with what the Bengals have been able to accomplish along their offensive line and ranked them as the No. 4 most improved o-line over the offseason. As you can see in the tweet below, they trail only the Chargers, Chiefs, and Vikings.
The biggest move the Bengals made at their offensive line was signing tackle Riley Reiff in free agency. He was a hot commodity and he now gives the Bengals a really nice option at right tackle. The downside is that he’s only signed for one year so Cincinnati will be in the same situation they faced this offseason next year as well.
The other big move Cincinnati made was selecting Clemson offensive lineman Jackson Carman in the second round in the draft. With Reiff and Jonah Williams as the two bookends of the o-line, Carman will kick inside to guard, at least for this year.
The Bengals’ additions along the offensive line haven’t gone unnoticed.
Imagine how much higher the Bengals would have been on this list had they spent the No. 5 pick on Penei Sewell, who would have given them consistency at the tackle position, as he and Williams would have been on opposite sides for the next few years. Reiff then could have played guard during his one-year deal.
Cincinnati also drafted D’Ante Smith (fifth round) and Trey Hill (sixth round), giving them more depth at the position. Continuing to build the o-line and adding depth is crucial, as Burrow was forced to miss the final six games of the season because the offensive line couldn’t protect him.
Drafting Ja’Marr Chase and reuniting him with Burrow is fun but if Burrow doesn’t have time to throw to Chase, what does it really matter? Hopefully, Reiff and Carman can heavily improve this offensive line and the Bengals can continue to make this a priority, as Burrow being protected is the most important thing for this organization moving forward.