While No. 1 overall pick and rookie phenom Joe Burrow will be the one fans and analysts have their eyes on. It could be offensive lineman Jonah Williams who steals the show in the trenches.
Williams will be facing one of the NFL’s best pass rushers in Joey Bosa to start his career, and if that offensive line doesn’t hold up, Burrow’s sky-high expectations may quickly be shattered.
That said, Williams has been preparing for the two-time Pro Bowler with one of the Bengals rising stars.
ESPN’s Ben Baby noted that Williams used third-year defensive end Sam Hubbard by name when saying who has been helping him get him ready for a challenging first game of his career.
Jonah Williams, on any edge rushers he played against in the SEC that compare to Joey Bosa. Couldn't think of anyone, but named Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard. "Going against Sam here has helped me prepare for Joey a lot."— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) September 7, 2020
Hubbard is becoming a game changer in his own right as well. Recording 15 starts and 8.5 sacks a season ago, Hubbard is in the midst of becoming one of the NFL’s best up-and-coming pass rushers in 2020.
That’s why confidence should be oozing from Williams as he’s had to battle Hubbard daily in training camp. While Bosa will pose a new challenge, Williams, the No. 11 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, should be able to bolster a lacking offensive line.
With the Chargers offense spearheaded by Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen, the Bengals will have their hands full defensively. For Cincinnati’s offense, it’ll be about getting Burrow time, and it’ll partially be on Williams to make that happen.
If the offense has a good outing with players like A.J. Green and John Ross on track to play, the Bengals could be walking away with half as many wins through their first as they had the entire 2019 season.