Jonah Williams is a second-year player, but is basically entering his rookie year.
Williams was one of college football’s most prolific pass protectors not so long ago, so Zac Taylor made him the first draft pick of his head coaching tenure.
The Bengals were battered and beaten in 2019, and Williams was one of three former first-round draft picks to start the season with an injury. Unfortunately, he never got to play, which was one of the factors involved in the team drafting first-overall in 2020.
The Bengals need offensive line help badly, but barely addressed the line in the offseason. Taylor is counting on Williams to be back and ready to go.
Hometown: Folsom, CA
Experience: two years
According to Spotrac, Williams’ cap hit in 2020 will be $4,006,856. His dead money will be over $14.4 million, as he is only two years into a four-year, $17.6 million deal. Fortunately for Williams, all $17.6 million is guaranteed until 2022.
Jonah Williams was one of the best players to come out of high school in 2016, and earned a starting spot at right tackle as a freshman at Alabama. He started for each of the next two seasons at left tackle and won All-American honors his junior year in 2018.
All of this helped him become the first offensive lineman drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. His fall outside of the top ten picks was not terribly surprising considering the archaic concerns with his size and arm length, but the Bengals held no such reservations. Perhaps there was something more secretive that caused him to fall.
After playing in the College Football National Championship, working out at the combine, and reporting to rookie camp, Williams tore his labrum needed season-ending surgery. The injury seemed to come out of nowhere, and it threw the Bengals’ offensive line plans into the shredder.
A full year later, Williams has had an entire offseason to recover. If there is football in 2020, Williams will be there.
Outlook for 2020
The Bengals need offensive line help in the worst way, especially in front of Joe Burrow. Williams is going to be a big part of the rebuild up front.
The Bengals added Fred Johnson, Isaiah Prince, and Hakeem Adeniji since Williams’ injury. While they have a large group of tackles, including veteran Bobby Hart, Williams stands out due to his pedigree.
He will definitely start, and it will be at left tackle unless everything we’ve heard since last Spring has been a lie.
Williams is by far the most talented offensive linemen on the Bengals’ roster. He is one of the few that would be able to start on most other NFL teams. Not only will he make the team, but he will be integral in the Bengals’ turnaround.
Roster odds: 99 percent