The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that is close to being elite. They have arguably the best talent in the league at some positions and plenty of unsung heroes throughout the rest of the lineup. However, like every team, they have their flaws.
There are not many positions you can point at and say "yep, that's what's dragging them down", but if this team really wants to achieve elite status and make it back to the big game, they do have a couple of positions they will need to address in offseason.
Now, most of these are for a lack of depth as, without injuries, those positions by themselves are fine. However, when your top guy goes down at a given position, that's when you face a true test of perseverance -- Whether or not you can overcome debilitating obstacles.
Having good depth at key positions is really important, more important than people like to think, and this year has been a good example of that if you're a Bengals fan or have just been following them this season.
So, without further ado, here are the positions the Bengals need to address when the offseason rolls around-- whether that be through the draft or free agency.
This is the main position that I hope gets addressed when the offseason rolls around. The tackles are the worst part of the O-line- and you can argue they are dragging down the unit as a whole. Cappa and Karras have actually turned out to be great signings, and Volson is a rookie who still has time to develop.
Jonah Williams and La'el Collins on the other hand are not playing up to standard in the slightest, posting PFF grades of 58.7 and 58.6. Though I will say I am more worried about Williams than I am about Collins.
While the former Cowboy hasn't been playing nearly as well as hoped for when he was signed, he has shown some improvement over the last couple of weeks. As for Williams, I don't know if it's because he dislocated his knee a few games back or what, but he's been downright terrible this year, currently giving up the most sacks of anyone at his position.
It sucks because I was actually happy to see him remain on the roster this past off-season after a much-needed O-line purge but it's time the Bengals move on from Williams after this season is over and done with, regardless of if the team makes another deep playoff run or not. Complacency will not lead to success.
Outside of the first entry, I don't think there are really any other positions I'm worried about in terms of quality. Almost every other position has a least one solid or even great player leading the pack. At cornerback, there's Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton. Linebacker, Wilson and Pratt. D-Line, B.J. Hill and D.J. Reader. And so on and so forth.
Depth is a different story. If there's anything this year has taught us, it's that good depth is just as important as having star players.
Cornerback is the biggest example of this in my opinion. Cincinnati went from starting Awuzie, Hilton, and Apple in one game to Apple, Cam Taylor-Britt, and Jalen Davis in the next. Those latter two guys had never even started a game for the Bengals up until that point. Thankfully, Hilton was only out for one week, but Awuzie is unfortunately gone for the entire season after tearing his ACL.
Cam Taylor-Britt will hopefully turn out to be a solid player (the usual rookie bumps are to be expected), but I'd still like to see more depth come to the team this off-season. Maybe a veteran corner that can help mentor the young guys, like CTB or whoever we might get in the draft.
This might sound ridiculous -- blasphemous even -- but hear me out. Yes, I know the Bengals have one of the best, most dangerous wide receiver trios in the league right now, but again, depth is key.
We saw Tee Higgins go down earlier this year, and Chase has been out for about a month now. In that time, they really haven't had a receiver come off the bench and really step up (Higgins had a big game on Sunday but that was the only huge game he had during Chase's absence). Mike Thomas has been disappointing and, while I do like Trenton Irwin and think he is a solid backup, the Bengals would benefit from having someone better coming off the bench in case they get bit by the injury bug again next season.
If they could find someone who's cheap but explosive (much easier said than done) it could make this offense more dangerous than it already is. Not only would they have that guy coming off the bench in case one of the main three got injured and making their absence burn a little less, but it could be better for player health and fatigue if they had someone they could rely on to sub in every once in a while for Boyd, Chase or Higgins. Not to mention also giving someone else for opposing defenses to scheme around on plays that he is in.
Again, this is much easier said than done, but I would absolutely love to have a reliable fourth option off the bench to relieve stress and help carry some of the offensive load.
Which positions do you feel the Bengals absolutely need to address this offseason?