The Cincinnati Bengals are excited about getting their first-round pick on the field for the first time. While that applies to rookie Joe Burrow as much as anybody, though, in this instance I’m talking about Jonah Williams. He was the first-ever draft pick for head coach Zac Taylor last year, and was seen as a plug-and-play left tackle, but he suffered a season-ending injury in the offseason and missed his entire rookie year.
While there have been many problems ailing the Bengals over the past few years in all phases of the game, the erosion of the offensive line, with the losses of players like Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler, were huge, and to date, they still haven’t been replaced.
They suffered a major setback when they swung and missed at left tackle in the draft a few years ago, taking Cedric Ogbuehi in the first round and Jake Fisher in the second. Ogbuehi is…somewhere now, while Fisher is nowhere after trying to convert to tight end.
Enter Williams, whom Taylor said was already feeling good in December at the end of last season. He was practicing by that point, and by now, he is completely healthy. “It’s too bad we didn’t get a chance to use him last year”, he said, “but we’re getting a healthy player who is in the right state of mind mentally”.
Recently, Lindsay Patterson of Cincinnati.com spoke to Taylor’s trainer about his progress. He asked Roberto Wallace if he feels he is ready to get on the field after missing so much time and recovering from a serious injury.
“He absolutely is. He’s definitely excited to show what he’s got”, he said. “He’s eager to get back out there on the field, so I’m excited for him. I’m anxious for him. I hope there’s a season; I hope that it does start on time so that he’s able to go out there and showcase what he’s able to do, and what I know he’s able to do”.
“He is moving very fast, and he’s very strong right now. As far as weaknesses go, I’m not sure there’s a lot”, he added.
On paper, the Bengals have a lot of talent on offense. A.J. Green returns at wide receiver to pair with Tylor Boyd, John Ross, and rookie Tee Higgins, while they still have Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard coming out of the backfield. They have a workable group of tight ends as well, including second-year Drew Sample. Defensively, they rebuilt their secondary.