Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Tackle (2019 Draft)
The Bengals picked at No.11 in the 2019 NFL Draft and were in desperate need of a left tackle. They selected Alabama's Jonah Williams. For the most part, Williams has been solid but an injury in 2022 paired with a down year helped shift him to the right side to make space for Orlando Brown Jr.
Had the Bengals gone in a different direction Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence was still on the board. Media scout, Matt Miller described Lawrence as follows:
"Lawrence is a rare dude from a physical standpoint, and his play is more impressive than that of last year's No. 12 overall selection, Vita Vea. It's that comparison that has evaluators considering that Lawrence could be a top-20 selection in this year's class. If teams bet on his size, athleticism and the early-career production, then it's feasible that Lawrence could hear his name called early in Round 1."- Matt Miller, Bleacher Report (now ESPN)
Lawrence's first three years in the league were steady enough, but in 2022 he exploded. Per PFF, Lawrence contributed 63 total pressures including nine sacks. That landed him a mega four-year, $90 million contract this offseason.
The Bengals have found a leader at the position in DJ Reader but had to fork out significant money in free agency to find a solution. Four years of cheap production from a player of Dexter Lawrence's calber would have been a boost for the defense.