Cincinnati Bengals 2021 training camp roster preview: Offensive line

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The offensive line was deservingly the most scrutinized of all Cincinnati Bengals positions this offseason.

Coming out of a campaign where No. 1 pick Joe Burrow got hurt because of the team’s seemingly endless struggle with this area, the Bengals brought on a new (and old) coach and upgraded at least two positions.

Everything is up for grabs along the line this summer. Here’s a look at the breakdown.

Depth chart

Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams (73) warms up before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Pos.

Name

OT

Jonah Williams

OT

Riley Reiff

OT

D'Ante Smith

OT

Fred Johnson

OT

Isaiah Prince

IOL/C

Trey Hopkins

IOL/C

Billy Price

IOL/C

Trey Hill

IOL

Mike Jordan

IOL

Jackson Carman

IOL

Keaton Sutherland

IOL

Quinton Spain

IOL

Xavier Su'a-Filo

IOL/C

Lamont Gaillard

The big storyline

Cincinnati Bengals offensive guard Jackson Carman prepares to run a drill during an NFL football rookie minicamp in Cincinnati, Friday, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

The Frank Pollack Impact: Can the return of Frank Pollack as line coach really matter that much? Jim Turner was unquestionably bad in more ways than one. But the task Pollack faces is immense. Pollack has to, in no short order:

  • Properly develop Jonah Williams into a long-term answer

  • Find a starter from a hodgepodge of names at one guard spot

  • Develop second-rounder Jackson Carman at another

  • Get Trey Hopkins back to form at center after injury

  • Scrape the most out of 32-year-old Riley Reiff at right tackle

  • Assemble the best possible depth from the current roster

None of that is easy, nor is any of it guaranteed to work out in a positive manner. Most of it should, but Pollack was the big reason the Bengals were comfortable not drafting a lineman at fifth overall and only marginally spending in free agency on the unit. Whether it works out as a net positive will have longstanding impacts beyond the 2021 season.

Prediction

Cincinnati Bengals center Billy Price (53) during practice, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, on the practice fields next to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Bengals Practice Oct 24

The starting five projects as Jonah Williams-Xavier-Su'a Filo-Trey Hopkins-Jackson Carman-Riley Reiff, though Quinton Spain could make noise at a guard spot, too, and who is where at guard could always get flipped. Sounds complicated, but the guard spots are up for grabs entirely as the team looks to put the best possible starting five on the field. Overall, those mentioned six are likely through to the final 53 as the Bengals keep at a minimum nine. Throw in Billy Price, Fred Johnson and D'Ante Smith as developmental and depth-types with versatility for multiple spots. Tackle Isaiah Prince and rookie interior lineman Trey Hill are on the fringe as possible makes, too.

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