Bengals’ $64 Million Star Named NFL’s Most Overrated OL

Orlando Brown Jr.

Getty Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

There are some list you just absolutely do not want to end up on — like the one Cincinnati Bengals left offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.’s name landed on recently.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay played Brown on his list of the most overrated NFL players at every position on May 21, calling Brown the most overrated offensive lineman in the entire league — to the point where he’s advocating for a position

“While Brown has the size at 6’8″ and 345 pounds to be a great left tackle, he lacks athleticism and struggles against speed rushers,” Kay wrote. “He gives up far too many pressures for a left tackle who’s being paid at an elite level. He’s much more capable as a run-blocker, which he would be able to excel at more on the right side of the line.”

Brown is entering his seventh NFL season in 2024 after signing a 4-year, $64 million free-agent contract with the Bengals in March 2023.

Brown Became Star Early in NFL Career

Brown was drafted in the third round out of Oklahoma by the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 and quickly became one of the NFL’s elite offensive linemen — to the point where the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off a blockbuster trade and gave up a first-round pick to have him come in and protect quarterback Patrick Mahomes‘ blindside before the 2021 season.

Brown made the Pro Bowl four consecutive seasons from 2019 to 2022 and helped lead the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win following the 2022 season, when he played under a franchise tag that paid him $16.7 million.

The Bengals were hailed for signing Brown in free agency but the results in 2023 were less than stellar — after allowing 8 total sacks in 2021 and 2022 he allowed 7 sacks in 2023, according to PFF.

“After the 2022 season, the Cincinnati Bengals signed Brown to a four-year, $64 million contract in free agency,” Kay wrote. “That put Brown in the top five at his position for total contract value and guaranteed money as well as the top 10 for average salary.

“However, Brown went on to have arguably his worst campaign as a pro last season. He earned a middling 66.1 PFF grade by allowing seven sacks and drawing three flags across 1,058 offensive snaps.”

Bengals Drafted for Future of OL in 2024

The Bengals made an unequivocal move that signals they are invested in protecting franchise quarterback Joe Burrow — they selected 6-foot-8, 340-pound Georgia offensive tackle Amarius Mims in the first round (No. 18 overall).

Mims only started 8 games at Georgia and is listed as the backup to right offensive tackle Trent Brown on during OTAs, but could eventually be the player that protects Burrow’s blind side in the future.

“Talented tackle prospect carrying a picturesque frame and exciting NFL traits,” NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in his pre-draft evaluation. “Mims plays with pretty good technique and is ahead of the game with hand placement. He has the size and bend to create movement and adequate athleticism to make blocks on the move, although he can be inconsistent in that area. He uses a two-hand punch that causes him to lunge forward a bit, but that should be correctable. It is very rare to see him clearly beaten by a rusher, and he has the recovery talent to do something about it when it happens.”

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