The Cincinnati Bengals roster has had good offensive tackles throughout the years, and at times two good players playing at the same time. Though we're not talking Pro Bowlers (the Bengals have only had three tackles made the Pro Bowl), the team's lone Hall of Famer is an offensive tackle who played on good offensive lines during his time in Cincinnati. Here's our top-five offensive tackles duo (not in chronological order).
Willie Anderson and Levi Jones. So much potential here. Anderson was a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time member of the First-Team All-Pro team that was part of the offensive line when Corey Dillon was breaking NFL records early in his career. Anderson could (and should) have gone to more Pro Bowls, but some of those Bengals squads were just awful. If we made a list of the best offensive tackles in franchise history, Anderson would be No. 2 on our list... and it wouldn't even be close.
Jones, a former first-round pick during the 2002 NFL draft, was a promising young left tackle with good athleticism, but injuries wiped that out later in his career. However for the briefest of times, Anderson and Jones were excellent together.
In 2005, when the Bengals made the postseason for the first time in 15 years, Carson Palmer had one of the best seasons by a Bengals quarterback. He was only sacked 19 times that year. And from 2004 and 2005, they were part of an offensive line that helped Rudi Johnson break the single-season franchise rushing record... twice.
Anthony Munoz and Mike Wilson. From 1980 through 1985, Munoz and Wilson were anchors on offensive line that helped boost Cincinnati's offensive rankings into the top-five in four of those six seasons. Pete Johnson scored 39 of his 65 rushing touchdowns from '80-83 and Anderson was sacked 24.8 times per season. If we compare, from '74-'79, Anderson was sacked 30 times or more in five of those six seasons, including a career-high 46 in 1979. Munoz was drafted and the most Anderson was sacked over the next five seasons was 26 in 1982 (a strike shortened-season). Wilson and Munoz would start Super Bowl XVI.
Anthony Munoz and Joe Walter. After Wilson left for the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati replaced him with first-rounder Brian Blados, who was eventually demoted out of the starting lineup. Joe Walter, a former-seventh round pick out of Texas Tech, not only replaced him, but he became the starting right tackle for nine seasons, through 1996 (he played in 1997, but not as a starter). Munoz and Walter started together for six seasons from 1987-1992. Unfortunately they never started Super Bowl XXIII together because Walter suffered an ACL injury during the regular season finale in 1988 against the Washington Redskins. Still, Walter started 136 games in 12 seasons for the Bengals.
Vern Holland and Rufus Mayes. The starting offensive tackle duo, both former first round picks, started together for the Bengals from 1971 to 1978. Though they weren't the best pass protectors of the group, the Bengals still boasted five top-ten offenses from 1971-1975. During that stretch, running backs Boobie Clark, Essex Johnson and Pete Johnson combined for 58 rushing touchdowns in 70 games played.
Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith. Though they've only really played two seasons together (Smith was an injury issue for his first two seasons), the Bengals have built a good foundation of players at tackle. Though the offense hasn't accomplished as much as the other duos on this list, individual performances suggests an idealistic future. Whitworth, a multiple-time alternate Pro Bowler, making his first all-star game in 2012, is showing some decline but those are related to an injury he hasn't been able to shake in two years. Smith put together his best season in 2012, following up a good 2011 campaign. He's progressing... and rapidly. There's a sense of expectancy with this duo now that Smith has re-upped for another three years during the offseason. Now we'll really see what these two can do together.