The Cincinnati Bengals drafted three offensive linemen in the first round since 2015. None of them will be in the starting lineup when they open the season a short time from now. And the only one of them who is not going to be in the lineup due to injury is 2019 selection, tackle Jonah Williams, or so we assume.
Williams, the 12th-overall pick, suffered a left shoulder injury back in June, so he never even made it to any padded practices. He looked good in the Spring, but we can’t definitively say that he was going to win a starting job, even though that was the team’s plan going forward.
Be at as it may, the reality is that the Bengals are getting nothing out of three first-round picks over the past five seasons at the offensive line position. Cedric Ogbuehi, their first-round tackle in 2015, is a long-told story, but the graver concern right now is 2018 center Billy Price.
The Ohio State product did, like last year, deal with some injuries this summer that caused him to miss time, but first-year head coach Zac Taylor made the decision that the best lineup for the team for their season opener will include veteran swingman Trey Hopkins snapping the ball. “It’s the day you thought would never happen”, he said. “But it happened”.
And the left guard will be rookie fourth-round pick Michael Jordan. Price also received some work at left guard this summer, as did Hopkins in others in what was initially considered to be the only open position, but currently, the second-year former first-round pick is not viewed as the best option at any of their five positions.
At left tackle is Cordy Glenn, a former first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, acquired last year for a third-round pick. He was projected to move to left guard following the selection of Williams, but that plan reset following the rookie’s injury, of course.
The right guard and right tackle positions will also be manned by free agents acquired since last year. Bobby Hart emerged as the least-worst option at right tackle by the end of last season, and he was re-signed and again seen as the least objectionable option there for now. Right guard will be manned by John Miller, signed in March during free agency from the Bills.
So there’s your starting lineup for the Bengals for the season opener, and perhaps beyond. From left to right: Cordy Glenn; Michael Jordan; Trey Hopkin; John Miller; Bobby Hart. I hope Andy Dalton’s time-to-throw stat is as good as it used to be, because there’s a good chance he won’t have much of it this year.
Now, the fact that Price isn’t in the starting lineup right now is not an indictment of his entire career, past, present, and future. He could easily push his way back into the starting lineup at some point this season. He started all 10 games he played in as a rookie a year ago. But for now, it’s a notable develop in Bengaldom.
Also worth noting, Christian Westerman is back with the team. He didn’t end up retiring.