Only two years after taking Andre Smith with the No. 6 overall pick of the draft, the Cincinnati Bengals will enter the 2011 offseason with offensive line at the top of the priority list.
The Bengals are a disaster up front, with the exception of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right guard Bobbie Williams. The problem is that Williams, 34, likely only has one year left in his career; maybe two max.
That means there are holes at left guard, center and right tackle. I thought Kyle Cook was going to be a solid center, but he appears to have regressed this year.
Then at left guard and right tackle, the Bengals have a pair of former undrafted free agents: Nate Livings and Dennis Roland. They’re both from LSU and no one else in the NFL wanted them except the Bengals. And they’re not just on the roster, they’re starters.
Not that it’s Roland’s fault that Smith turned into a complete bust. (That one’s on the Bengals’ front office considering the litany of warning signs about Smith before the 2009 draft.)
Guys like Livings and Roland should be backups at best in the NFL and this gives you some idea of why the Bengals’ O-line is so bad. And I probably should have included Cook in the previous sentence as well.
So, if there’s actually going to be an NFL season in 2011 (and I think they’ll work out a deal and will avoid a lockout) look for the Bengals to add a few offensive linemen. I don’t think they’ll take another one in the top 6 of the draft, but they’ll definitely draft a couple at some point and might also look to add one via free agency.