The Cincinnati Bengals are still in the early stages of trying to figure out who they are under the new regime with Zac Taylor as head coach, but one thing they’ve been trying to get in order is the offensive line. They used their first-round pick this year on left tackle Jonah Williams, and it appears as though they have plans for him to start immediately.
According to reports, the Bengals are permanently moving Cordy Glenn to guard. Though he was considered an inside-outside player when he was coming out of school, he has only ever played tackle—left tackle, in fact—once he got to the NFL level.
Now he’s fully committed to the move to guard, telling Paul Dehner that he is embracing the move and that he “had a man-to-man talk” with his offensive line coach about the decision. The move to left guard leaves the rookie to start at left tackle, of course.
Cordy Glenn is moving to left guard, he says. Says he is embracing it. “Coach Turner and I had a man-to-man talk.” Jonah Williams to LT.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 20, 2019
This bears a lot of similarity to Willie Colon in 2012, who up to that point in his career had only ever played tackle, even at the college level. While he was seen as a guard-capable player, the team always denied any interest or intention of moving him there.
That was before they drafted Mike Adams in the second round the year before they drafted Marcus Gilbert. And as it would turn out, Kelvin Beachum in round seven of 2012 would be the final piece of the puzzle.
But it was Adams being drafted that got the coaching staff’ collective brain churning, making the decision to flip Colon to left guard, with David DeCastro—fellow rookie—starting at right guard. Maurkice Pouncey of course was at center, and they still had Max Starks on the left side at the time.
But though Colon was committed to playing tackle up to that point in his career, he similarly embraced the move to guard. He had some growing pains early on but brought a physicality to the position. He was cut the following year due to the salary cap, but went on to put in a few more good years with the New York Jets inside.
Glenn is about as far along in his career at this point as was Colon when his position switch came. It worked out for the latter. How will it pan out for the former? Glenn will be a bigger body at guard at 6’6” and nearly 350 pounds. They might ask him to slim down some, but the Steelers have had success with taller guards. Both of their starters are 6’5”.
With Williams and Glenn on the left side, 2018 first-round pick Billy Price should take up the center position, with Bobby Hart at right tackle. Veteran Clint Boling figures to handle the right guard duties. So as long as Williams and Glenn pan out, the Bengals seem to have their starting five linemen in place, earlier than many expected.