This time last week the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive line room looked pretty much the same as it did a year ago.
After the Bengals added two versatile linemen through the draft, the lineup and depth chart could be completely shuffled.
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The Bengals had brought back the entire starting group this offseason and made just one addition through free agency, picking up former Buffalo Bills guard John Miller. Drafting former Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams and Ohio State guard/center Michael Jordan in the first four rounds could create some interesting position battles.
Cincinnati selected Williams in the first round, 11th overall, and made a trade to get a third pick in the fourth round, which the Bengals used to get Jordan.
“Nobody knows (how it will impact the lineup),” left tackle Cordy Glenn said Tuesday after a voluntary offseason workout session at Paul Brown Stadium. “I’m pretty sure they have a plan in place. They’re probably going to move a couple of guys around and see a couple of different lineups and see what they really have and what’s the best unit to put on the field.”
Glenn saw a drop off in his production last year, and there has been some speculation the Bengals might want to move him to guard or right tackle if Williams proves ready to step in at left tackle.
The thinking is that a position switch could extend the 29-year-old Glenn’s career, as he begins showing signs of his age. Glenn has played every snap of his seven-year NFL career at left tackle but played some guard in college. He said no one has talked to him yet about a change.
“Obviously I’ve been played left tackle, I like playing left tackle, because that’s what I’ve always played, but I’ll do whatever the team wants to help the team out,” Glenn said.
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The Bengals acquired Glenn in a trade with Buffalo to fill the left tackle spot that had been a weakness since Andrew Whitworth left as a free agent in 2017. Glenn made 13 starts but missed three games because of a back injury and said it was an up-and-down first year in Cincinnati.
“I don’t know if it was being in a new place, injuries or whatnot, but … I wasn’t my usual self,” he said.
That “up and down” season could end up costing him the role at left tackle, but Glenn isn’t the only one who could be impacted by the new draft picks. Jordan played center last year for the Buckeyes, but spent his first two seasons at guard and that is where most projected him to play in the NFL. The 6-foot-7, 312-pound Fairfield native will be creating some competition for Miller and Clint Boling, as well as projected backups Christian Westerman and Alex Redmond.
Boling said he wasn’t surprised the Bengals drafted two linemen as high as they did. He wasn’t frustrated by it either.
“It creates competition for everybody,” Boling said. “Everybody is in that position where you are always fighting for jobs. There’s always competition associated with it. There’s been competition since I’ve been here and there’s competition at every single spot. That’s what makes guys better.”
Veterans like Boling and Glenn will now find themselves in the unique position of being expected to help mentor the newcomers who are there to potentially take their jobs.
Glenn said he has no issue helping rookies settle in with their new team. He recalls being on the other end of that when he arrived in Buffalo as a second-round pick. Andy Levitre was playing left tackle for the Bills in 2011 and ended up moved back to left guard to make room for Glenn.
“I think the ultimate goal is the team and making sure we’re doing what’s best for the team,” Glenn said. “In that case you always want to help your teammate out and you want them to help you out.”
Boling said it helps the team adding some depth to the line, especially with such versatile players. The Bengals had two spots to fill after letting Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher go in free agency.
“That’s a good thing,” Boling said of adding depth. “You want to have versatile linemen who are able to move around and that’s what makes guys successful in this business is being able to play guard and tackle, guard and center and move around and have flexibility and those kind of things to get the best five on the field.”
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