Orlando Brown Jr.
We are heading into another year where we, yet again, wonder if the offensive line can effectively protect Burrow. They almost had it last year, as the unit seemed to mesh before injuries eventually became their undoing, the squad beaten and battered as it headed into the AFC Championship with just two starters remaining on the O-Line. That being said, even before injuries, the unit wasn't as advertised.
The interior thankfully seems to be figured out, as Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, and Cordell Volson all played relatively well and look to be like the starters in their respective positions for the foreseeable future. However, the line was, quite literally, rough around the edges.
The tackles, La'el Collins and Jonah Williams, had some solid games but just didn't cut it, having many poor performances sprinkled in throughout the season. So, the front office went into free agency with the goal of addressing this issue in mind-- and they did so by acquiring Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown had spent three years with divisional rival Baltimore, and two after that with the Kansas City Chiefs. Heading into the 2023 offseason, he was listed as one of the best available offensive tackles, so the front office quickly worked out a deal with him in hopes of protecting their franchise quarterback. While the sixth-year tackle is not flawless by any means, he should be a huge improvement for Cincinnati.
However, his first game won't be an easy one, as the Browns now have two of the best edge rushers in the league. Brown will most likely spend Sunday afternoon either lined up against QB nightmare Myles Garrett (who has recorded 16.0 sacks in each of the last two seasons) or the three-time Pro Bowler, former Viking Za'Darius Smith (10.0 sacks in 2022). Either way, he won't have an easy matchup, so he has to step up and ensure that he keeps Burrow's blind side secure.