Bengals News

Cincinnati Bengals need Jonah Williams to stay healthy in 2021

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Jonah Williams of Alabama poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being chosen #11 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: Jonah Williams of Alabama poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being chosen #11 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals during the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Bengals spent the No. 11 overall pick on Jonah Williams in the 2019 NFL Draft and so far, he hasn’t lived up to the expectations of a first-round pick. Williams missed his entire rookie year due to injury and missed another six games in 2020. This can’t continue if the Bengals want to be successful.

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports listed each team’s non-quarterback player they can’t afford to lose and for the Bengals, it was Williams. Here was Benjamin’s reasoning for picking Williams:

"The WR room is loaded, so it’s not like losing Ja’Marr Chase or Tyler Boyd or Tee Higgins would completely ruin their lineup. Joe Burrow, meanwhile, must stay upright after his rookie season was cut short due to injury. Williams may not be an elite left tackle, but he’s the guy protecting the QB’s blind side, and you don’t want to be shuffling Riley Reiff and rookies all over the place."

As Benjamin noted, Williams hasn’t been as good as the Bengals were hoping he’d be, but the fact of the matter is that left tackles are one of the most important positions in the league. Having to rely on a backup at that position could be costly and the Bengals know all too well what having an inexperienced offensive line can lead to, and it’s not good.

The Cincinnati Bengals are counting on Jonah Williams to stay on the field.

This season hinges on what kind of production the offensive line has. If they’ve improved from a season ago, or even just average, Joe Burrow and his arsenal of weapons should be able to put up points and surprise people. If the unit is as bad or worse than it was a season ago, the Bengals will be in the same situation they were in last year.

Williams is a big piece in this o-line, even if he hasn’t been the same guy fans saw dominate at Alabama. Injuries have played a part in that though and head coach Zac Taylor wants to see what Williams can do in a full season. If he struggles to make it through the regular season this year, the Bengals are going to have to dip their toes back in the left tackle pool and see if they can land a better option moving forward.

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This year is massive for Williams and while he hasn’t lived up to his first-round expectations, the Bengals still desperately need him healthy and protecting Burrow’s blindside. Otherwise, it’ll be the same ol’ story for Cincinnati in 2021.

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