Bengals Projected to Have Elite Offensive Line in 2024

Orlando Brown Jr.

Getty Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

The Cincinnati Bengals have made strengthening their offensive line a priority in recent years in hopes of keeping $275 million quarterback Joe Burrow healthy.

Now, the Bengals are projected to have an elite offensive line in the NFL in 2024 when it comes to pass blocking and could be one of the more improved offensive lines overall, according to several media outlets.

The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin has the Bengals ranked as the No. 7 team in pass protection based on a metric that figures in the five projected starters for the team and past performance in pass projection.

“If Joe Burrow has the seventh best pass blocking offensive line this season, then the Bengals’ offense is going to be one of the best in football,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s James Rapien. “Especially since Cincinnati has Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and could add extra weapons and linemen to their roster in the 2024 NFL Draft.”

Cincinnati Bengals Have Struggled on Offensive Line

Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson has the Bengals projected to have an offensive line in the upper half of NFL teams in 2024, ranking them at No. 14 out of 32 teams.

“Cincinnati hasn’t been afraid to spend on its offensive line, signing (Orlando) Brown, (Alex) Cappa, and (Ted) Karras in free agency over the past three seasons,” Robinson wrote. “That approach didn’t end in 2024, as the Bengals agreed to terms with Trent Brown to play right tackle. While Cincinnati is still likely to consider a right tackle in the first two rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, (Trent) Brown is a high-upside placeholder.”

The Bengals ranked No. 10 in the NFL in most sacks allowed with 50 in 2023. The impetus on protecting Burrow has been front and center since 2021, when Burrow was sacked 51 times in the regular season and 19 more times in four postseason games.

Could Bengals Add More O-Line Help in NFL Draft?

The Bengals return four starters on the offensive line in 2023 with left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., left guard Cordell Volson, center Ted Karras and right guard Alex Cappa. Trent Brown, a free-agent signee in 2024, will presumably start at right tackle.

Orlando Brown Jr., Karras, Cappa and Trent Brown have all won Super Bowls with different teams. Volson won four FCS national championships at North Dakota State.

Three mock drafts project the Bengals to take an offensive lineman at the No. 18 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft — Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham by Yahoo Sports, Oregon State offensive tackle Taliese Fuaga by The Athletic and Washington guard Troy Fautanu by the NFL Network.

ESPN’s Field Yates has Latham ranked as his No. 2 offensive tackle prospect and Fuaga at No. 5. Yates has Fautanu ranked as his No. 1 guard prospect.

“Beyond his size — 6-6, 324 pounds — (Fuaga) brings pure nastiness and finish to his game,” wroe The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “For 2024, he could offer positional flex to guard if injuries required it, but he could then lock into right tackle for the duration of his rookie contract. He wouldn’t have to play immediately with Trent Brown in the fold, but supporting Joe Burrow will always carry the day, and Fuaga falling would be enough to turn the team away from (Texas defensive tackle Byron) Murphy.”

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