Bengals 2009 draft class is the exception to NFL trends

Andy Lyons

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted 11 players from the 2009 NFL draft. They've successfully retained five, which is against the trend in the NFL for that class.

ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton makes a point.

"..only 60 members of the 2009 (draft) class are still with their original teams."

Sixty. That's only 23.4 percent of the entire draft class from 2009 remaining with their original teams. Obviously one factor is that most rookies sign four-year contracts, save for several first-round selections, who were signed to on five-year deals (if not more). Telling is the perspective that original teams just aren't keeping their own from this class. And the exodus could continue.

"That number could drop significantly next year because 33 of them are potential free agents," Clayton writes. "Free agency normally gobbles up a good portion of draftees once rookie contracts expire, but the key to building any franchise is retaining good draft choices. Unless something changes, the 2009 draft will be considered a crack in the building process for most teams."

The Bengals are an exception. Cincinnati selected 11 players that year and five remain with the team.

ANDRE SMITH (1st Round, OT): A free agent after the Bengals declined a two-year option that would have kept him in Cincinnati through 2014. Thanks to nonexistent market for Smith during free agency, the Bengals were able to re-sign Smith to a three-year deal in late April.

Clayton writes: "Right tackle Andre Smith of the Cincinnati Bengals and linebacker Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers are the only 2009 first-rounders who received big contract extensions with the teams that drafted them and figure to keep the money."

REY MAUALUGA (2nd Round, LB): Facing criticism over the offseason, compounded by the rise of Vontaze Burfict, it was unknown if the Bengals would bring Maualuga back. Eventually the Bengals signed their four-year starting linebacker to a two-year deal. Expect him to become a more two-down backer.

MICHAEL JOHNSON (3rd Round, DE): Though he could have been one of the top free agents during this year's free agency, the Bengals quickly drowned that possibility after slapping the franchise tag on Johnson. The Bengals have until mid-July to sign Johnson to a long-term deal before the franchise contract is locked in for this year.

KEVIN HUBER (5th Round, Punter): Former fifth-round punter, Huber has been a solid punter that received a five-year deal during the offseason.

BERNARD SCOTT (6th Round, RB): A running back that was projected with some promise, finally succumbs to his durability question marks last year with an ACL injury. The Bengals invited Scott back with a one-year deal during the offseason. However his chances of making the 53-man roster are minimal.

PLAYING FOR NEW TEAMS

Chase Coffman (3rd Round, TE): After being inactive for 12 games during his rookie season, the Bengals eventually placed Coffman on IR with an ankle in early December. He was cut the following season, but joined the practice squad. Eventually called up to played six games in 2010, recording three receptions for 30 yards late during the season. Cincinnati didn't sign Coffman to the offseason roster following the season finale. Coffman bounced around from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Atlanta Falcons, where he joined the practice squad in 2012. Eventually promoted to the 53-man roster in mid-November, Coffman added a 16-yard reception during the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks.

Clinton McDonald (7th Round, DE): The Bengals released McDonald during final cuts in 2010 after spending his entire rookie season on the team's practice squad. Cincinnati would again sign McDonald to the practice squad in 2010, eventually promoted to the 53-man roster by early November. Cincinnati traded McDonald to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for cornerback Kelly Jennings prior to final cuts in 2011. McDonald has played 29 games with the Seahawks since 2011, including 298 defensive snaps as a run stopper in 2012. Seattle re-signed McDonald during the offseason.

THE DEPARTED

Jonathan Luigs (4th Round, C): Played eight games in 2009, the Bengals released Luigs in 2010. He's been out of football since.

Morgan Trent (6th Round, CB): Trent played a full 16-game schedule during his rookie season, adding 28 tackles, four passes defensed and a quarterback sack. Played eight games in 2010 but suffered a knee injury during practice, prematurely ending his season. Cincinnati waived Trent on November 2, 2011. He bounced around with the Jaguars and Redskins (only the offseason roster) but hasn't been with an NFL team since being released by Washington on August 27, 2012.

Fui Vakapuna (7th Round, RB): The biggest role Vakapuna has played for the Bengals was as an offseason body, trying to make the team as a fullback. Though on the 53-man roster in 2009, he never played a regular season game and his season was cut short in 2010 after suffering a shoulder injury during training camp. He signed with the Jets on May 23, 2012, but released several months later with an injury settlement.

Freddie Brown (7th Round, WR): Cincinnati drafted Brown and released several months later during final cuts. Signed on the team's practice squad and eventually the offseason roster, Brown was released to make room for Terrell Owens on July 28, 2010. Brown was signed signed to the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad but has been out of the league since 2011.

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