Look for Cincinnati to attempt to draft an offensive lineman early in the draft since Williams is on a one-year contract. He is in a similar situation as Jessie Bates. The expectation is that Bates will move on this offseason. In anticipation of this, the Bengals drafted defensive backs Dax Hill and Tycen Anderson in the first and fifth rounds, respectively.
The Bengals could look to do something similar in this year’s draft. Ideally, the guy who the Bengals should target, if available, is left tackle Anton Harrison out of Oklahoma. Pro Football Focus currently ranks him 30th overall which is too low when compared to other tackles in this year’s class. NFL Mock Draft Database ranks him 35th. NFL Draft Buzz ranks Harrison 26th overall and gives him an All Scouts average overall rank of 38.8. Again, 38.8 is way too low for a guy with his potential.
Drafting Harrison would follow Cincinnati’s formula of preparing for a starter’s eventual departure from the team a year in advance. However, for fans who hope that the team moves on from Williams this year, Harrison showed enough potential at Oklahoma to give fans hope that he could compete for a starting role. But again, even if the Bengals draft Harrison, the rookie starting over Williams is improbable.
The Bengals could also look to free agency to upgrade the left tackle position. Just do not hold your breath on Cincinnati giving $22M per year to Orlando Brown.
Isaiah Wynn is another potential target, but $15M per year may be above what the Bengals want to shell out. Philadelphia Eagles' former first-round pick Andre Dillard could be an interesting option, but it would depend on what he is demanding and if the Bengals see him as a potential upgrade over Williams.