CINCINNATI — The Bengals are hoping their offensive line takes multiple steps forward this season. They added key pieces in free agency and the draft like Riley Reiff and Jackson Carman.
Internal development is a crucial part of their plan to turn things around, which is why they replaced former offensive line coach Jim Turner with Frank Pollack in January.
Pollack is expected to get the most out of a line that includes former first round pick Jonah Williams. The 23-year-old showed promise in 2020, making 10 starts at left tackle.
Pro Football Focus believes Williams is going to have a breakout season for the Bengals.
"This is a guy who took to Excel to chart moves and pass-rush wins for all of his opponents while at Alabama. He’s a self-proclaimed “perfectionist” when it comes to technique," PFF analyst Corey Linsey wrote. "In an interview with PFF prior to the 2019 NFL Draft, Williams said of his arm length concerns, 'The shortest path to somebody is directly to them, you know, directly to their center of mass. So, for me, if we’re talking an inch or ⅝ of an inch or whatever we’re talking about with arm length, you can easily overcome that by just shooting your hands inside.'
"That emphasis on technique helped him to a 70.1 PFF grade in his 10 appearances last season. That number isn’t overly impressive on the surface; it ranked 25th out of 38 qualifying left tackles across the NFL. However, it ranked second among six qualifying rookie or second-year left tackles behind only Mekhi Becton.
"Williams’ grade was also the highest on Cincinnati’s offensive line. Young offensive tackles have certainly made worse debuts. The clear area for growth in 2021 for Williams is as a run-blocker, as he ranked below the 20th percentile in the percentage of positively graded run blocks. Those are the plays where the offensive lineman creates movement along the defensive line and opens up holes for the running back. Williams recognizes it’s an area to improve.
"He has a chance to push into the upper half of starting left tackles if he does that and is finally able to stay healthy next year."
Williams has the talent and technique to solidify the Bengals left tackle spot. With a veteran like Reiff around and Pollack helping him develop, there's no reason why he can't have a breakout season.
PFF also expects Dalton Risner, Ethan Pocic, Robert Hunt and Jawaan Taylor to have big seasons. Check out their entire article here.
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