Jonah Williams

Bengals’ Jonah Williams Returns To Practice

Offensive tackle Jonah Williams will return to practice for the Bengals, per a club announcement. The No. 11 overall pick has yet to make his NFL debut due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason, so this is a promising step forward.

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Williams can practice for the rest of the season without counting against the 53-man roster limit. In theory, they could activate him before the end of the year, but it’s not clear whether that’s part of the plan. Given that this is a lost season, they might take the cautious approach and leave him out of harm’s way.

Before the injury, Williams was slotted to start at left tackle for the Bengals. That’s likely where he’ll be stationed in 2020, when the Bengals hope to get back on track.

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Bengals’ Jonah Williams Unlikely To Play

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor says he does not expect first-round pick Jonah Williams to play this season (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Ben Baby). The team will monitor the tackle over the next few weeks, but there’s little sense in rushing him back on to the field in a lost season. 

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Williams was slotted to start at left tackle before suffering a left shoulder injury. Unfortunately, Williams was just one of several banged up Bengals this season, putting a major damper on Taylor’s first year.

Still, the future is bright for Williams, who was on track to be a Top 10 pick before the Giants shocked the world by taking Duke quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. The early shakeup led to the Jaguars taking Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen at No. 7, which allowed the Lions to opt for Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson at No. 8 instead of Williams. That worked out just fine for the Bengals, who were able to stand pat and land the best tackle in this year’s class.

Next year, they should find out exactly how good Williams is.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Trim Roster To 53

The Bengals announced their final 53-man roster. One of the moves will be, as expected, placing Darqueze Dennard on their reserve/PUP list. Dennard now must miss at least the first six games of the season. This comes after the Bengals re-signed their former first-round pick on a one-year, $5MM deal. The team knew Dennard needed a post-signing knee surgery, but the arthroscopic procedure was performed several months ago.

Cincinnati is also placing Jonah Williams on its PUP list instead of season-ending IR. While the first-round tackle was believed to be set to miss the season, this move is a way of retaining a chance he can recover. Williams would revert to IR if he cannot recover from the shoulder injury he sustained this offseason.

Here’s the full list of the Bengals’ moves to meet the 53-man limit:

Placed on Reserve/Injured list:

Placed on the Reserve/PUP list:

  • CB Darqueze Dennard (sixth-year player, Michigan State; knee injury)
  • OT Jonah Williams (rookie, Alabama; shoulder injury)

Released:

Waived:

Suspended:

  • G Alex Redmond (third-year player, UCLA, suspended for four games)

All of the waived players, except for Core, will be practice squad eligible if they clear waivers.

Bengals Re-Sign T Andre Smith

Andre Smith is set for a fourth stint with the team that drafted him in the top 10. The Bengals and the 10-year veteran tackle agreed on yet another reunion Thursday.

The Bengals have encountered some offensive line obstacles this summer, with first-rounder and left tackle starter Jonah Williams suffering a season-ending injury and eight-year starter Clint Boling retiring. On the eve of another Bengals camp, the team landed Smith for another potential go-round.

Smith spent his first seven seasons in Cincinnati, working opposite Andrew Whitworth with the Bengals’ playoff teams. He has joined other teams twice — the Vikings for all of 2016 and the Cardinals for a rough few months in 2018 — but has come back to Cincinnati each time. The Bengals signed him late last season, after the Cardinals cut him, and the 32-year-old blocker looks like a potential depth option once more. Smith also visited the Jets earlier this year.

Both Duke Tobin and new OC Brian Callahan acknowledged the Bengals needed more help up front, with the latter specifying the team needed tackles. While Smith is a few years removed from his prime, the 93-game starter will compete for a spot on another Bengals roster.

The team also placed Williams on its active/PUP list. While that distinction means he could return at any point during camp, the shoulder injury the Alabama product suffered this summer is expected to keep him out until 2020.

Bengals’ Williams Likely To Miss Season

Bengals first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder, according to a team announcement. It seems likely that the No. 11 overall pick will be placed on injured reserve soon, but no move has been made just yet. 

We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won’t let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team,” said head coach Zac Taylor. “We’re confident in our offensive line personnel as we head into training camp, and we believe they can do their part in helping this team achieve its goals.”

Williams was slotted to start at left tackle with the team moving Cordy Glenn over to left guard. Without the rookie, the Bengals are likely to move Glenn back to LT and focus on finding an LG solution. That fill-in could be Christian Westerman, who took the bulk of the starter’s reps there during minicamp while Williams was out. There’s also veteran John Jerry, who just recently joined the team, to consider.

The Bengals are trying to put a positive spin on the situation, noting in their press release that the Patriots won the Super Bowl last year despite losing first-round pick Isaiah Wynn to a season-ending Achilles tear. The club also noted that center Billy Price, last year’s first-round pick, has put together a solid spring after missing much of his rookie campaign.

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Bengals To Move Cordy Glenn To Guard

Jonah Williams was rumored to be a possible fit at right tackle or guard with the Bengals, but the team will relocate a veteran lineman instead to accommodate its first-round pick.

Cordy Glenn will slide from left tackle to left guard, with Williams taking over on the left edge, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). Williams made 44 starts at Alabama in three seasons, and 29 of those came at left tackle.

Glenn has not played guard as a pro, breaking into the Bills’ starting lineup as a rookie in 2012. He has played left tackle throughout his career but does have guard experience in college. The former second-round pick lined up at guard for much of his time at Georgia before moving to tackle his senior year.

The Bengals traded for Glenn last year and received 13 starts during his first season in western Ohio. Glenn graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 60 tackle, his 60.9 overall grade his worst as a pro, and surrendered the most pressures of his seven-year career as well. Perhaps a move inside will be beneficial for the soon-to-be 30-year-old blocker.

Clint Boling has been the Bengals’ left guard for most of the 2010s, beginning his run there in 2012. He did not participate in team drills during OTAs, according to the Enquirer’s Fletcher Page. Boling started at right guard for the Bengals as a rookie in 2011, so it’s conceivable Cincinnati could slot him there. The Bengals signed former Bills guard John Miller to a three-year, $16.5MM deal, however, so Cincy’s 2019 line could feature two former Bills as first-string guards. One year (at $4.85MM) remains on Boling’s deal. He graded as PFF’s No. 39 guard in 2018.

This, interestingly, stands to leave Bobby Hart in place at right tackle. Most questioned why the Bengals gave Hart a three-year, $16.2MM deal this year, but the scrutinized edge protector may well be part of Cincinnati’s first-unit line after all.

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Bengals Sign Jonah Williams, Drew Sample

The Bengals signed first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams and second-round tight end Drew Sample, according to a team announcement. Williams was selected No. 11 overall while Sample was taken 41 picks later with the No. 52 choice. 

Williams entered draft weekend as a strong candidate for the top 10. But, after the Giants shocked the world by taking Duke quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall, things changed radially for the Alabama product and other top prospects. The early shakeup led to the Jaguars taking Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen at No. 7, which allowed the Lions to opt for Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson at No. 8 instead of Williams. That worked out just fine for the Bengals, who were able to stand pat and land the best tackle in this year’s class.

Sample, meanwhile, used his 6’5″ frame to block effectively at Washington. He didn’t light up the stat sheet with just 25 catches for 252 yards in 2018, but he could develop into more of an offensive playmaker with time.

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Dave Gettleman On Josh Allen, Daniel Jones, Eli Manning

Roger Goodell uttering the name “Daniel Jones” served as perhaps the most shocking moment of the draft, and the decision that led to the commissioner reading that card did not come easy for the Giants.

Dave Gettleman had another name in mind, in the event the Giants felt their short-term need at defensive end was too great to ignore at No. 6. The second-year Giants GM said (via NBC Sports’ Peter King) the decision to bypass Josh Allen for Jones was “agonizing.”

I agonized over that,” Gettleman said. “I agonized. Before the draft, we discussed that thoroughly as a group — first last Friday, then again Wednesday. Obviously we had great regard for Josh Allen. But the one thing I have learned is you don’t fool around with a quarterback. If he’s your guy, you take him.”

Gettleman said post-draft he knew of two teams that would have taken Jones before the Giants’ No. 17 pick. The Jaguars snapped up Allen at No. 7, doing so despite not expecting the Kentucky edge rusher to be there. Jacksonville was expecting to make a decision between T.J. Hockenson and Jonah Williams, with Albert Breer of SI.com noting Hockenson was the Jags’ likely pick had the Giants gone with Allen as many expected. After the Jags’ Allen pivot, the Lions took Hockenson at No. 8.

The Giants have possessed three top-six picks since 2004, the first of those leading to Eli Manning and the second producing Saquon Barkley. Gettleman did not indicate last year he had any kind of debate between choosing Barkley or Sam Darnold. A year later, the Giants GM said his team might not have another near-future chance to grab a top quarterback prospect without sacrificing plenty in a trade, helping lead the Giants to Jones this year.

There are no guarantees. So the bottom line is, if you believe this kid can get you to the promised land, why wait?” Gettleman said, via Breer. “You have to have confidence in what you’re doing. You’re drafting players. The team will be better. Now, what happens next year? What if you don’t take him this year, and next year you’re picking 22? You’re going to have to move heaven and earth. This is the closest we’re going to get. It made the most sense.”

The Giants did not leave Manning in the dark about the Jones decision. He called the Giants’ 16th-year quarterback while on the clock at No. 6. Gettleman said Manning could potentially be Big Blue’s starter for multiple additional seasons.

I was on the phone with Eli. I told him, ‘You’re our quarterback, let’s go,'” Gettleman said, via Breer. “And by the way, we’re drafting the Jones kid, and your job is to be the best quarterback you can be and help us win. It’s his responsibility to crawl up your fanny and learn.”

New York attempted to trade up to land Denver’s pick at No. 10, but the Broncos went with the Steelers’ proposal instead, King reports. It’s possible the Giants wanted to trade up to land Rashan Gary or Brian Burns, whom the Packers and Panthers respectively selected. The Giants selected defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at No. 17.

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Draft Notes: Bills, Jaguars, Bengals

The Bills selected Oklahoma offensive tackle Cody Ford in the second round, but it sounds like the team was willing to take him even earlier. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Buffalo tried to trade back into the first round in order to draft Ford. Ultimately, the price proved to be “too rich.”

As we mentioned, the Bills still managed to land Ford at No. 38. The leaves the Bills with 14 offensive lineman on their current roster, so the team will surely have some intriguing competitions come training camp. The team has added five free agent linemen this offseason in Mitch MorseSpencer LongTy NsekheJon Feliciano, and LaAdrian Waddle.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor was expected to be a top-10 pick, but he ended up falling to the Jaguars at No. 35. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Taylor fell because of medical concerns, as teams were wary of the Florida product’s meniscus issue. Fortunately, Rapoport says the issue isn’t “structural.”
  • The Jaguars shocked most pundits when they selected Murray State linebacker Quincy Williams in the third round last night. As Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com points out, Williams (who is the brother of third-overall pick Quinnen Williams) wasn’t among the 400 players scouted by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, nor was he on the list of 730 prospects compiled by The Athletics’ Arif Hasan. The linebacker wasn’t invited to the Combine and Murray State didn’t have a Pro Day, leading Williams to assume he was going to go undrafted. “For me coming from a small school and didn’t get a combine invite, yeah, I kind of did,” Williams said. “Then I had to go to Pro Day somewhere else, so most people thought I was a safety or a smaller linebacker, so yeah it was a thought in my mind. But then I know my abilities, and I believe in myself.”
  • The Bengals used the 11th-overall pick on Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams, leading some to wonder what would happen with Cordy Glenn. As Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer points out (on Twitter), the veteran has started every snap of his career at left tackle, but he may be forced to move to right tackle or left guard. Furthermore, he gave up the most pressures and earned the worst Pro Football Focus grade of his career in 2018. Dehner ultimately wonders if a position change could rejuvenate the 29-year-old’s career.

Draft Rumors: Redskins, Bills, Jets, Eagles

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones will meet with the Redskins today and tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Washington will also sit down with Northwestern signal-caller Clayton Thorson on Wednesday, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, adding that fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock (Missouri) and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) have already visited with the Redskins. Washington is looking at nearly all the top QB prospects, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the status of Alex Smith‘s knee injury. Smith isn’t expected to play in 2019, and while the Redskins have already acquired veteran Case Keenum, the club is searching for a long-term option to place under center.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • The Bills are hosting Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown Wednesday, while Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen‘s meeting with Buffalo will occur on Thursday, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Although the Bills invested in pass-catching help during free agency, adding both John Brown and Cole Beasley on multi-year deals to a depth chart that already included Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the team is still in need of receivers. Brown (6’1″, 225) posted at least 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, and six touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, isn’t likely to be available for Buffalo at No. 9 overall, but the club could potentially trade up given that it owns the sixth-most draft capital.
  • Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is meeting with the Jets, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Gang Green ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ run-blocking metric in 2018 (and 18th in pass-blocking), but so far the club has only addressed its offensive line by acquiring guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. New York’s tackle situation has remained unchanged, with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell projected to start on the left and right sides, respectively. Williams is expected to come off the board early in Round 1.
  • The Bengals met with Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite last week, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Cincinnati has edge depth with Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Kerry Wynn in tow, but Polite would give the team another option.
  • TCU defensive end L.J. Collier is meeting with the Lions, Eagles, and Seahawks, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds Collier is “quietly pushing” to become a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com currently ranks Collier as the No. 45 prospect, noting that while he isn’t an “elite bender,” Collier has the ability to play both inside and on the edge. In his senior season with TCU, Collier posted six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.