CINCINNATI — Are the Bengals cursed?
When it comes to first-round draft choices missing all or part of their rookie seasons, the answer seems to be a definite "YES."
The club's announcement that tackle Jonah Williams will probably miss the entire 2019 season after shoulder surgery makes five straight years that the Bengals' first rounder will be haunted by injuries.
In 2018, center Billy Price missed six games (foot);
In 2017, wide receiver John Ross played a total of 17 snaps due partly to a bad shoulder;
In 2016, cornerback William Jackson was out for the year (torn pec in training camp);
In 2015, tackle Cedric Ogbuehi missed 11 games (knee).
Now, Williams had left shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum but is expected to make a full recovery, the club said in a release Tuesday.
The Bengals were counting on the former Alabama All-American to move into the starting lineup at left tackle to shore up an offensive line that was rated one of the worst in the league last year.
“We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won’t let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team,” head coach Zac Taylor said in the release.
“We’re confident in our offensive line personnel as we head into training camp, and we believe they can do their part in helping this team achieve its goals.”
Williams was hurt in rookie minicamp at the beginning of the month and did not participate in the full club's June 11-13 mandatory minicamp the following weekend except for watching the drills.
At the time, all Taylor would say is that Williams got "a little dinged up" and the extent of the injury was being determined. A Bengals representative cut off questions to Williams about his status.
"Just doing what I can right now," said Williams, who occasionally stretched his back while watching practice.
The 11th overall pick was the biggest addition to a line that had been the main focus in the offseason. The team had considered moving last year's left tackle, Cordy Glenn, to guard, a position Glenn hadn't played since college. Now it appears Glenn will stay at left tackle.
The Bengals also drafted guard Michael Jordan in the fourth round, gave right tackle Bobby Hart a three-year extension and signed guard John Miller from the Bills to a three-year deal.
Clint Boling, the incumbent left guard, didn’t practice during the spring with an unknown ailment, according to Bengals.com.
The Bengals have been hoping for a turnaround from last year's 6-10 record, when season-ending injuries to quarterback Andy Dalton, star receiver A.J. Green and others doomed them to last place in the AFC North.