One of the first steps for new draftees is picking their new number. On the surface, these numbers are essentially meaningless in practical terms, but are rich in history, and often conjure up memories of players past. A prime example of this historically-charged occurrence took place when quarterback Andy Dalton selected the number 14 after being drafted in 2011. No quarterback had worn the number 14 since the legendary Ken Anderson in 1986, so by opting for a number steeped in history, Dalton and the Bengals were making a statement about their newest quarterback.
At their first press conferences since being drafted by the Bengals, Cincinnati's latest group of draft picks showed off their new numbers, some of which have played significant parts in Bengals' history. Tight end Tyler Eifert chose number 85, running back Giovani Bernard went with number 25, defensive end/ancient barbarian warrior Margus Hunt opted for number 99, and safety Shawn Williams picked number 40.
Eifert's new number, 85, is most recently remembered as the number of mercurial wide receiver Chad "OchoCinco" Johnson. Before Johnson, it was also worn by receivers Tim McGee and Isaac Curtis. The number 85 is a legendary one around Cincinnati, so Eifert will have big shoes to fill as he strives to become the team's newest receiving threat.
The number 25, chosen by Bernard, doesn't quite have the history of 85, but still has a couple of big names attached to it, namely Chip Myers and Rod Jones. It was most recently worn by sixth-round cornerback Morgan Trent.
Hunt's number, 99, has a little bad luck attached to it, but was worn by a number of highly drafted Bengals. The latest to wear it was Manny Lawson, but it was also worn by a couple of bigger names in Dan Wilkinson and David Pollack, both of whom were at one point regarded as difference-makers on the Bengals' defense. Hopefully, Hunt will help bring the number 99 back into the spotlight and avoid Pollack's unfortunate fate.
Lastly, Williams selected the number 40, which was recently worn by departed running back Brian Leonard. Leonard was the ultimate team player and a fan favorite around Cincinnati, so Williams is under a little pressure to live up to that hype. Historically, the number 40 was also worn by Madieu Williams and Charles Alexander.