Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams was heralded as one of the few bright spots on the O-line last season, but Williams still hasn’t gotten the respect he deserves.
Williams, a 2019 first-round pick, played his first full season in 2021 after missing his entire rookie year due to injury. The star left tackle is touted as a cornerstone piece of the team’s offensive line, and Williams only recently got a strong supporting cast in offseason acquisitions like La’el Collins, Alex Cappa, and Ted Karras.
Williams quietly put together a productive 2021 season that saw him finish with a 77.1 Pro Football Focus grade, tied for fourth among left tackles in pass block efficiency (98.3 percent).
The young lineman should enjoy yet another successful season in 2022, but he’ll be playing with a chip on his shoulder after being snubbed from an NFL pundit’s list.
NFL’s Bucky Brooks re-evaluated the 2019 NFL Draft class and ranked the top 15 players, adding ten honorable mentions. Brooks gave his reasoning for ranking players three seasons after they were drafted:
"With 40-plus NFL games on the résumé to study, evaluators have enough data to determine if the player is a blue-chipper, solid starter, complementary piece or something lesser. Although environment, scheme fit and injuries undoubtedly factor in, the best players in a draft class should be vying for all-star accolades by the end of Year 3."
Williams was notably excluded from the top-15 list and the honorable mentions, which makes us scratch our heads a bit.
Bengals’ Jonah Williams gets snubbed from top-25 player list from 2019 draft
The best players from the 2019 draft include obvious shoo-ins like Kyler Murray, DK Metcalf, and Deebo Samuel, yet there should be room for top-performing offensive linemen as well.
The offensive line consists of the most underrated positions in football, and the only linemen that made the list are Green Bay Packers’ Elgton Jenkins and New Orleans Saints center Eric McCoy.
William’s injuries likely contributed to his low ranking, as he has only developed into a consistent rock for Joe Burrow within roughly the past year and a half.
As a whole, Cincy’s offensive line floundered last season, allowing a whopping 70 sacks on Burrow throughout regular season and the postseason, but more often than not Williams was holding his own on the left side of the trenches.
Williams enters 2022 with high expectations to break out in hopefully his second full season in the league, and getting snubbed from Brooks’ list should only add more fuel to his fire.
The Bengals have already achieved an unexpected flurry of success, and with Jonah Williams returning as a healthy starter in the O-line, the team can look forward to another year of playoff-contending offense.