Bengals offensive line has improved but still has work to do
After how poorly the Cincinnati Bengals‘ offensive line looked a season ago, revamping the unit this offseason was a must. While the Bengals didn’t take the ‘easy route’ and draft Penei Sewell with the No. 5 overall pick, they’ve put a lot of work into this group and making sure that what happened last season doesn’t happen again.
They might have passed on Sewell, but they took Jackson Carman in the second round of the draft and plan to kick him inside to guard. They also signed long-time left tackle Riley Reiff and he’ll likely be slotted in as the right tackle, as Jonah Williams is getting another crack at left tackle entering year three with the organization.
While the Bengals have made it a point to add talent to their offensive line, the unit is going to have to prove that they’re better before people truly buy-in. As a result, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus put them at No. 24 on his offensive line rankings.
Palazzolo notes that Williams, Trey Hopkins, Carman, and Reiff all have their positions likely carved out for them but there will be a battle taking place at the other guard spot.
"Left guard is a battle between Xavier Su’a-Filo, Quinton Spain and Michael Jordan. Spain has the best grading profile of the trio, though he’s a few years removed from his best work and has graded in the 50.0s in his two years with the Bengals. Either way, left guard looks like a weakness again for Cincinnati."
The Bengals have made strides to improve their offensive line, but is it enough?
While it’s understandable for Bengals fans to get excited about the improvements made, it’s going to take some time for this unit to gel and it might take a few weeks for that to happen, if it does indeed happen.
Williams has struggled with injuries since getting drafted No. 11 overall and if he doesn’t play well this year, the Bengals are going to have to strongly consider drafting his replacement next year. Hopkins is the team’s best-kept secret and should continue to be a force at center, and Reiff was solid for the Lions and Vikings but can he be a decent right tackle?
There are a lot of questions for the Bengals to answer along their o-line and while they’ve put work into this group, only time will tell if Cincinnati’s offensive line is going to truly be better than it was a season ago or not.