Cincinnati Bengals: 4 players the team can’t afford to lose to injury

Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Jonah Williams #73 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals need Jonah Williams to stay healthy

This is a huge year for left tackle Jonah Williams, who the Bengals selected with the No. 11 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Williams missed his entire rookie season due to injury and also missed six games during his sophomore season.

When Williams was on the field, however, he was productive, allowing just three sacks and finishing the season with a grade of 70.1 from Pro Football Focus. While the Bengals obviously need him to replicate that production, the most important thing for Williams moving forward is staying healthy, which isn’t something he’s shown he can do.

Left tackle is one of the most important positions in the NFL and the Bengals took Williams No. 11 for a reason. Zac Taylor still believes Williams is the answer at left tackle and passing on Penei Sewell with the No. 5 pick was further validation of that opinion.

However, Williams has just two years remaining on his rookie contract (though the fifth-year option getting picked up is a strong possibility with a decent 2021 campaign) and if he wants a long-term deal, he needs to show he can be durable. Losing him in 2021 to any kind of injury might be an indicator of how injury-prone he’ll be moving forward.

Also, the offensive line was abysmal last year. If Williams misses time, the line is going to have a tough time trying to fill the void of the starting left tackle being out of the lineup. Williams must stay healthy.