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Examining the Bengals’ options at right tackle

Cincinnati can solidify the offensive line with the position filled

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Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Jamar Coach/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

As much as we would all like to forget, the offensive line was a disaster at the beginning of the Joe Burrow era.

The line protecting Burrow has slowly, but drastically improved since the 2020 season.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ interior was once Michael Jordan, Trey Hopkins, and Alex Redmond.

Fast-forward to the 2022 season and the names of the interior are headlined by Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, and Alex Cappa.

Cincinnati then shocked the NFL world by signing Orlando Brown, a few weeks ago, locking down Joe Burrow’s blindside (left tackle) for the next four years.

Now that we are caught up, the right tackle decisions loom for the front five.

Like the tight end position, the Bengals have plenty of options to solidify the line and give Burrow the best protection upfront of his professional career, thus far.

Jonah Williams

The easiest option would be sliding Jonah Williams to the right side.

Williams started 15 games at right tackle during his college career at Alabama.

After the Brown signing, filling the position Williams has locked down for the Bengals since 2019, he requested a trade.

Zac Taylor made a statement about this situation Monday afternoon, “I like everything about Jonah. I’m excited to see him come in and compete at right tackle.”

It is tough to find a starting left tackle with experience like Williams, so he could easily be an attractive trade option for teams around the league.

If the Bengals decide to keep Williams in the building, Zac Taylor expects him to compete with Jackson Carman for the starting RT tackle spot.

Jackson Carman

That brings us to the next option: Jackson Carman.

Carman stepped into a tough situation at the end of last season/postseason and filled a major role after injuries to both tackles.

With questions surrounding La’el Collins returning at the beginning of the season, OL Coach Frank Pollack believes Carman is an option at that position.

La’el Collins

One of the biggest stories surrounding the Bengals the last few seasons was the signing of La’el Collins.

Collins struggled in pass protection last season but was solid in run blocking.

The tackle went down with an injury last season and isn’t expected to be ready to go, Week One.

NBC Sports Edge Football stated Collins is a “prime candidate” to be released this offseason, but the Bengals have not made that move... yet.

Collins is coming off a torn ACL and MCL. If the Bengals decided to move on the team would save $6.1 million, but will have to eat $3.3 million in dead money.

If the team decides to release him with a post-June 1st designation, Cincinnati will save almost $8 million and only eat $1.7 million in dead money.

With Collins still in the building, he is an option, but with injury and the struggles last season, Cincinnati could move on before Week 1.

Hakeem Adeniji

It’s been a bumpy ride for former sixth-round pick Hakeem Adeniji, who began his career at left tackle in 2020, then played right guard in 2021, and finally ended up at right tackle this past season.

That kind of versatility is nice, but Adeniji hasn’t exactly played well at any spot, as evidenced by his career-best Pro Football Focus grade being a 54.1 mark this past season. He followed that up with a putrid 43.6 grade in the Bengals’ three postseason games this past season while at right tackle.

Adeniji looks bound to remain effectively a swing tackle for the Bengals, but he’ll likely be given a chance to compete for the right tackle job.

NFL Draft: Darnell Wright

The Bengals currently hold the 28th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Brad Spielberger of PFF has the Cincinnati Bengals selecting Darnell Wright in his latest Mock Draft.

The Tennessee Offensive Lineman was a five-star recruit out of high school and dominated at the right tackle position for the Vols, earning first-team All-SEC honors in 2022.

Wright ended his collegiate career with 42 starts (27 at right tackle, two at right guard, and 13 at left tackle) and didn’t allow a sack in 19 consecutive games, according to Tennessee Athletics.

In his final season in Knoxville, Wright played 850 snaps and allowed no sacks with a blocking grade of 99.0, per PFF.

The All-SEC right tackle could be a “plug and play” guy, on a rookie contract, that could be enough to solidify the protection for Joe Burrow.

Oh, and he is a glass eater.

NFL Draft: Dawand Jones

Dawand Jones is another name that has been linked to the Cincinnati Bengals, by numerous outlets, at the 28th pick.

The Bengals have always been big on “hometown” guys and Dawand Jones played his college ball at Ohio State.

Jones is an absolute unit standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing in at 374 pounds.

The Buckeye did not allow a sack or hit on CJ Stroud this past season while playing right tackle, per PFF.

PFF also gives Jones the 10th-highest offensive grade among all FBS tackles. Jones was also in the top 10 for run blocking, at ninth-best.

Some NFL scouts believe Jones could take some time to fully develop in the NFL but is a strong and talented option for the Bengals at pick number 28.

NFL Draft: Late Rounds

Blake Freeland, Carter Warren, and Braeden Daniels are names the Bengals could pursue in mid-later rounds (2nd-4th) of the Draft.

To wrap it up, the options to secure a starting right tackle next season are there.

Will the Bengals keep a guy they have in the building for the position, or will they look toward the NFL Draft?

Bottom line, the priority is protecting Joe Burrow at all costs and Cincinnati has continued to build a line capable of doing just that.