It was widely reported yesterday that the Cincinnati Bengals’ first-round pick, left tackle Jonah Williams, suffered an injury that will in all likelihood put him on ice for the entirety of his rookie season. That is a big deal, because he was already penciled in to become their starter at the position. But it’s not a critical blow, either. It’s more a reversion to last year.
In 2018, the Bengals swapped first-round picks with the Buffalo Bills in exchange for Cordy Glenn, who played in and started 13 games for the team at left tackle last season. With Williams having been brought in, they actually converted Glenn to guard, which is something that had always been talked about for him as a possibility since he was drafted in 2012, but the move was never made.
Now, that move will have to wait at least another year, because surely Cincinnati will be counting on him to kick back outside, where he has played for his entire career up to this point. In fact, before it was all settled in, there was talk of the possibility of Williams playing left guard instead of Glenn.
“We knew we wanted to have Cordy next to Jonah, whether it was tackle or guard”, offensive line coach Jim Turner told the team’s website yesterday. “Cordy has been a real pro through this whole thing and we have no doubt he’ll continue to be as we move ahead. We were looking for Jonah to learn from Cordy playing next to him and he still will, but it’s going to be more now as a teacher”.
Glenn did not grade particularly well at all from Pro Football Focus, however, particularly as a run-blocker. In pass protection, he was credited with surrendering 36 pressures, tied for 20th-most in the league, but he had the fourth-worst run-blocking grade of all tackles who played at least half of the team’s snaps last season. Not that they are gospel.
But that didn’t stop Joe Mixon from leading the AFC in rushing yards, so it couldn’t have been that much of a hindrance to the offense’s total success. And really, there were definitely bigger problems with their line, such as at right tackle with Bobby Hart. Injuries often left backups to take the field as well.
The Bengals have a bad track record with the health of their rookie first-round picks lately, something we talked about yesterday, but this is the second time in as many years that it has been an offensive lineman. Last year, center Billy Price missed about half of the season due to injuries.