There’s one issue though.
Cincinnati gave up 44 sacks in 2022. While that’s an improvement from the 55 they allowed the season before, they still need improvement on their offensive line.
Earlier this week, Oklahoma offensive tackle Anton Harrison was mocked to the Bengals by draft wizard Dane Brugler of The Athletic. Another big-name draft expert, ESPN’s Todd McShay, did the same with the 28th pick in the first round.
McShay on Harrison:
The Bengals gave up 44 sacks in 2022, which tied for 20th in the NFL. They also ranked 30th in pass block win rate at a tick above 50%. As they get set to pay quarterback Joe Burrow on a big extension, they might want to do something about reducing the hits on him. Plus, La’el Collins is returning from a torn ACL, and Jonah Williams missed time during the playoffs with a dislocated kneecap, so depth is important. Harrison is tough to shake once he’s locked on in pass protection, and he allowed just two sacks over 34 games at Oklahoma (24 starts).
Anton Harrison is a Top 15 player in this class. 33 pressures allowed on 1002 career pass blocking snaps pic.twitter.com/J4P7Kkwcot
— James Foster (@NoFlagsFilm) March 7, 2023
Harrison is big and extremely athletic for his size. At 6’4″ and 315 pounds, Harrison ran a 4.98 in the 40-yard dash, the second fastest for any offensive lineman at the combine. Plus, he plays with good technique and power.
Felix Anudike-Uzomah out of Kansas State is one of the best edge rushers in the upcoming draft, and he knows Harrison very well.
The two-time Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year and conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 gave Harrison huge kudos at the NFL combine when he was asked who was the toughest lineman he faced in college.
“Anton Harrison (Oklahoma). He’s got quick feet, aggressive hands… he’s the best tackle in the class in my opinion,” said Anudike-Uzomah.
Cincinnati put a lot of resources into their offensive line last offseason by signing right tackle La’el Collins, center Ted Karras, and right guard Alex Cappa.
However, left tackle Jonah Williams is entering the last year of his deal so the Bengals adding a young stud on that side wouldn’t hurt, especially at a cheap rate.
Harrison also provides versatility as he can play both tackle spots.
He’s certainly a player to keep an eye on for the Bengals.