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Bengals 21st Century Draft Class Tournament: Round Two - #1 (2001) vs #9 (2013)

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Can Tyler Eifert lead his 2013 draft class to a second upset, or will the top seeded group of Justin Smith, Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh prove to be too powerful to bring down?

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Welcome to the first Bengals Draft Class Tournament. We have taken the past 16 Bengals draft classes and seeded them one through 16. Consider this our version of March Madness! The tournament will continue until the readers of Cincy Jungle have crowned a winner of the best Bengals draft class of the 21st century. Check out the first round winners and all the details here.

In our next matchup, the #1 seeded 2001 Bengals draft class faces off against the #9 seed 2013 class.

All-Pros Justin Smith and Chad Johnson led their top seeded 2001 draft class to a dominating 99% to 1% victory in round one, while Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard pulled off the #8 vs #9 upset, with the closest victory in round one, winning 66% to 34%. Can the underdog make it two upsets in a row, or will the top seed end the 2013 draft class' Cinderella story?

Bengals 21st Century Draft Tournament

#1 2001 Draft Class

Year

Rnd

Pick

Pos

To

AP1

PB

St

G

College/Univ

2001

1

4

Justin Smith

DE

2014

1

5

14

221

Missouri

2001

2

36

Chad Johnson

WR

2011

2

6

9

166

Oregon St.

2001

3

66

Sean Brewer

TE

2003

0

0

0

12

San Jose St.

2001

4

100

Rudi Johnson

RB

2008

0

1

4

95

Auburn

2001

5

135

Victor Leyva

G

2002

0

0

0

10

Arizona St.

2001

6

168

Riall Johnson

LB

2003

0

0

0

32

Stanford

2001

7

204

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

WR

2011

0

1

6

146

Oregon St.


Why the 2001 draft class should advance:

The Bengals’ first round pick, Justin Smith, produced the most sacks (87) and second most Pro-Bowl selections (5) of any defensive player drafted into the NFL in 2001. Not only did the selection of Smith address a glaring need on the defensive side of the ball, but brought one of the best players of the 2001 draft to Cincinnati.

The 2001 draft produced four wide receivers with prolific career totals, all compiling over 700 receptions, 10,000 yards, and 60 touchdowns. Two of them went in the first round, Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne. The Bengals snapped up the third of these wide receivers, and perhaps the most entertaining, Chad Johnson, with their second round pick. Johnson was included on a pair of All Pro teams, and six Pro Bowls during his career, which was almost entirely played in Cincinnati. Love it or hate it, Johnson, then Ochocinco, also provided a level of entertainment with his touchdown antics and "child please" attitude. He is arguably the best wide receiver to ever play for the majority of his career with the Bengals, leading the franchise record books in receptions and receiving yardage by large margins. He also has the most receiving touchdowns in team history.

Despite being the 10th running back selected in 2001, and spending his first two seasons only attempting 17 rushes in nine games, Rudi Johnson cranked out the fourth most rushing yards of any running back selected, with 5,797 yards. He finished second among all running backs with 49 rushing touchdowns scored. On a team that has seen Corey Dillon, James Brooks, and Ickey Woods, among others, it is Johnson who set the team record for most rushing yards in a season with 1,454 in 2004. He broke his own record in 2005 and currently holds the top two spots in this category.

They say patience is a virtue, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh was patient, as it wasn’t until his fourth season in the league that he became a regular starter for the Bengals. Despite that delayed start, the 27th wide receiver drafted in 2001 finished in the top five in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. In fact, Houshmandzadeh has more career receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns than the combined totals of the top two wide receivers drafted, David Terrell and Koren Robinson.

Why the 2001 draft class should not advance:

Yes, Justin Smith was a great player, but all of his Pro Bowl appearances and All Pro selections came after he left for San Francisco. He was solid as a Bengal, but never able to turn around a subpar defense.

Despite making Sean Brewer the third tight end selected in 2001, he failed to finish in the top 10 among tight ends in receptions, yards, or touchdowns. In his brief three year career, he played in only 12 games, catching a grand total of zero passes.

#9 2013 Draft Class

Year

Rnd

Pick

Pos

To

AP1

PB

St

G

College/Univ

2013

1

21

Tyler Eifert

TE

2015

0

1

2

29

Notre Dame

2013

2

37

Giovani Bernard

RB

2015

0

0

1

45

North Carolina

2013

2

53

Margus Hunt

DE

2015

0

0

0

29

SMU

2013

3

84

Shawn Williams

DB

2015

0

0

0

48

Georgia

2013

4

118

Sean Porter

LB

2014

0

0

0

1

Texas A&M

2013

5

156

Tanner Hawkinson

T

2015

0

0

0

6

Kansas

2013

6

190

Rex Burkhead

RB

2015

0

0

0

26

Nebraska

2013

6

197

Cobi Hamilton

WR

2014

0

0

0

0

Arkansas

2013

7

240

Reid Fragel

OL

2015

0

0

0

1

Ohio St.

2013

7

251

T.J. Johnson

C

2015

0

0

0

16

South Carolina

Why the 2013 draft class should advance:

Sitting with the 21st overall pick, the Bengals stayed true to their board, and selected tight end Tyler Eifert, despite already having a solid tight end in Jermaine Gresham. It wasn’t a pick that anybody anticipated, but has turned out to be a great selection, as Eifert is perhaps the best, young tight end in the NFL. Eifert led all tight ends in 2015 in receiving touchdowns.

Second round pick Giovani Bernard has emerged as an electrifying ball carrier in the open field. He has great receiving skills for a running back and is an important piece of the Bengals' two-headed backfield.

Why the 2013 draft class should not advance:

Giovani Bernard, the top running back selected in 2013, is a pretty good running back. He has more than 3,400 total yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns in the last three years. Unfortunately that total is lower than a pair of very good running backs who were selected after him, Le’Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy. Both Bell and Lacy not only have more total yards than Bernard, but more touchdowns, better yards per rush averages, and each has a Pro-Bowl selection.

One thing that many teams look for in a draft prospect, especially one taken in the first few rounds, is an ability to play football well. This concept seemingly evaded the Bengals when they selected Margus Hunt with the 53rd overall pick. All five defensive ends drafted ahead of him have more sacks, including uber draft bust Dion Jordan, with twice as many. Also, no fewer than 10 defensive ends drafted after Hunt have passed his career sack total. Including all defensive players drafted in 2013, Hunt’s sack total is 43rd best, while his total tackles threatened to push him outside of the top 100 among all 2013 draftees. In fact, fellow 2013 draft pick Tyler Eifert isn’t too far behind Hunt in total tackles – and he’s an offensive player.

There have been 48 regular season games played since the 2013 NFL draft. The Bengals' last six picks of that draft class have combined for an average of 8.3 career games played. Eight out of a possible 48 is pretty sad. The Bengals clearly struggled to find players after the third round who could contribute to their team. Though, there is still time for this class as they enter their fourth NFL season with six of the members of the draft class remaining on the offseason roster.