Updated Bengals Offense Starters After The Draft

Updated Bengals Offense Starters After The Draft

Ryan Knuppel
3 years ago
3 min read

After six wins in the last two seasons, the Bengals are entering 2021 with five straight seasons of missing the playoffs. To right the ship and avoid making it six years, the young players the Bengals invested in over the last two drafts, particularly on offense, will have to make big leaps forward.

With the draft done and free agency pretty much wrapped up barring any last-minute moves, here is who Cincinnati should be starting on the offensive side of the ball in Week 1.

Quarterback - Joe Burrow

While his rookie season was cut short to just 10 games, Burrow did enough to convince Bengals fans that they got the first overall pick right in 2020. Burrow had 13 touchdowns to just five interceptions and a 65.3 percent completion rate, more than acceptable marks for a rookie playing on a bad team. Staying on the field will be key, though, as the 32 sacks he took are not sustainable in the long run.

Running back - Joe Mixon

In the last year of his rookie deal, Mixon was limited to six games. However, armed with a new contract and veteran Gio Bernard gone from the team, Mixon will be the every-down back for the Bengals. The fifth-year back has 428 yards rushing in 2020, a steep dropoff from his two previous seasons with over 1,100 yards.

Wide receiver - Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins

Chase, this year’s fifth overall pick, as well as last year’s second rounder Higgins, will join the sixth-year wideout Boyd in being on the field as much as possible. Despite the mouths to feed, chemistry with Burrow shouldn’t be an issue either. Higgins, who will likely be the slot receiver out of this trio, had over 900 receiving yards his rookie year while Boyd finished with 841 yards, while Chase put up monster numbers with Burrow at LSU in 2019.

Tight end - Drew Sample

This is the first position on offense for the Bengals that isn’t clear-cut, even with Sample getting 13 starts last year and appearing in all 16 games. The second-round pick from 2019 averaged 2.5 catches per game last year, reeling in just one touchdown. Expect him to be challenged quite a bit by C.J. Uzomah, who tore his Achilles tendon in Week 2 last year after starting at a tight end for the previous two seasons.

Offensive tackles - Jonah Williams, Riley Reiff

With the Bengals opting to go with Chase rather than Oregon’s Penei Sewell in the first round, they made it known they feel confident in both Williams and Reiff. Williams, picked 11th overall in 2019, missed his entire rookie year but started 10 games last year, hoping to be the anchor on the left side the team needs in his third season. Reiff, another former first rounder, has shown much more durability than Williams after spending the last four years with the Vikings.

Offensive guards - Michael Jordan, Xavier Su’a-Filo

Jordan and Su’a-Filo are currently the starters penciled in but expect both to face some competition. Jordan has been up-and-down in his first two years with Cincy and will need a solid camp to hold off Jackson Carman, this year’s second round pick out of Clemson. As for Su’a-Filo, the free agent acquisition from last year played only six games in 2020, now needing to hold off veteran Quinton Spain on the right side.

Center - Trey Hopkins

Hopkins might be the option Bengals fans are most confident in along the o-line, as the 28-year old has been on the field nearly every game for the last three years since moving to the center. 2018 first rounder Billy Price was supposed to be the anchor of the line but is purely viewed as a backup after Cincy declined to pick up his fifth-year option.

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