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Bengals filled a big need in the 2017 draft, but it’s not what you think

If the Bengals were on Wheel of Fortune, they’d certainly be asking Pat for the letter “J”.

NFL Draft Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, it would seem the Bengals felt they had a pretty significant deficiency on their roster. It was a deficiency that was so pressing they made a very strong effort to correct. No, it wasn’t at running back, offensive line, or pass rusher. Rather, it’s pretty apparent that they perceived a lack in players whose first name began with the letter “J”.

Consider before the draft, the Bengals only has six players on their roster whose names began with the letter J, and half of them are very deep backups who have never appeared in a regular season game for the Bengals:

  • Jake Fisher
  • Jake Kumerow
  • Jeff Driskel
  • Jeremy Hill
  • Jonathan Brown
  • Josh Shaw

Six players with a “J” name might not sound too bad until you realize that is a mere half of the dozen players with “C” names, such as Carlos Dunlap, Cedric Ogbuehi, and Clint Boling.

Some of the Bengals’ most prominent free agent losses have been “J” named players - Jonathan Joseph and Justin Smith. The team has struggled to replenish the ranks of great “J” named players ever since. It explains why they reached for Jerome Simpson in round two, and selected Jermaine Gresham in round one over Rob Gronkowski.

In the last six drafts (52 players) only four of them had “J” names. The Bengals made up for lost time and focused heavily on “J” named prospects in the 2017 draft with a reckless abandon. The results were astounding, as the first three picks all had “J” names. In fact, the first seven of 11 draft picks are “J” names, which is an astounding rate that would make Jeri Ryan proud.

  • John Ross
  • Joe Mixon
  • Jordan Willis
  • Josh Malone
  • Jake Elliott
  • J.J. Dielman
  • Jordan Evans

It’s obvious the Bengals had the letter “J” on their minds during the NFL Draft, and had great success in filling the roster with “J” names, more than doubling their placement on the roster. As it stands now, almost 20 percent of the Bengals’ roster is now filled with players whose first name begins with the letter “J”. The Bengals were on a mission during the draft and filled it masterfully.