There is a lot of excitement about the upcoming Bengals season as Zac Taylor’s squad looks to bring the Lombardi home.
Most of the attention goes to the big names, both new, like Orlando Brown Jr., and old, like Ja’Marr Chase. But here are three Bengals players who don’t get talked about enough.
Joe Mixon is the Bengals’ primary running back, and rookie Chase Brown will push for carries, but neither is known for their stellar pass protection. The departure of Samaje Perine opens up a huge opportunity for Trayveon Williams to fill the team’s role as the “third-down back.”
Williams had the best pass protection film I have ever seen out of a draft prospect, and that is not hyperbole. The fact that Jim Turner was the Bengals offensive line coach when Williams was drafted and was the offensive line coach for Williams’s Texas A&M team before that is surely no coincidence.
As a bonus, Williams is an incredibly natural pass catcher who could make some big plays with the ball in his hands.
I see Williams becoming a big part of this offense in 2023.
Although Chidobe Awuzie came off the PUP list quickly, I am not yet convinced that he will be ready to go in Week 1. DJ Turner has been an early camp standout, but I don’t know if defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will feel comfortable starting the rookie cornerback across from a second-year cornerback and with a second-year safety behind him that early in the season.
That’s why the team went out and got Sidney Jones.
Jones is a high-end talent who has struggled to fully develop due to injuries. Still, he is a dependable veteran with some quality experience who I would feel very comfortable with as a replacement starter.
He also has some experience in the slot, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees some action inside later in the season.
The Bengals signed an offensive tackle who was drafted in the second round, but he’s not a projected starter, and nobody seems to be talking about him.
What a time to be alive.
Cody Ford was the 2019 38th overall pick. While his career has not taken off, the talent is there in that 6-3, 329-pound frame. He is an excellent scheme fit who can get real movement in the gap run game.
The 26-year-old Ford has seen action in 49 games. He is a suitable fill-in player at both tackle and guard, which gives the Bengals valuable depth and versatility.
There is a good chance that Ford sees some important snaps in 2023.