It is always nice to see where your team’s roster came from. That is exactly what we will be doing here in a sense of seeing which conferences are the most represented among the Bengals’ roster.
For the sake of ease, we will be talking about the big fiver conferences (they ended up being the top five anyway), but it is worth noting that the conference with the most representatives on the Bengals roster outside of the top five was the AAC. It shouldn’t be surprising since the University of Cincinnati plays in that conference, so the Bengals may find that one pretty easy to scout.
The Power Five conferences consist of the ACC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC. Here is how they ranked:
Easily the least of the Power Five, the Pac-12 hasn’t really made an impact on the Bengals roster. Easily the most notable player is linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2012, and he has been a leader on this team ever since. He has run into issues with the league. Most recently, he is scheduled to miss the first four games of the 2018 season due to PEDs.
John Ross is also a product of the Pac-12. The Bengals first round pick from 2017 is hoping to rebound in 2018 after a terrible start to his career. Hopefully, he makes Bengals fans and Pac-12 fans proud next season. Maybe that will get the Bengals’ interest in the Pac-12 going a little bit more.
Big 12: 10
The Big 12 manages to crack double digits. It isn’t surprising this conference isn’t in the top three. They have the least amount of teams representing them with 10. Still, this is where the Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton got his start. He has been the Bengals guys since they drafted him in 2011.
The Bengals also got running back Joe Mixon from the Big 12. They drafted him in the second round of the 2017 draft, and he looks to be the lead back for the team next season. With a much improved line, he should be seeing a little bit more daylight.
Big 10: 13
The Bengals actually have two first-round picks from the Big 10. Most recently, they selected center Bill Price in the 2018 draft. He seems to be quite the addition to the team from just a work ethic and leadership aspect. He should also be a huge upgrade in the middle of the offensive line. The Bengals also added defensive end Sam Hubbard in the third round from the Buckeyes.
The Bengals also drafted cornerback Darqueze Dennard in the first round. He is entering a contract year after his best year as a pro yet. He proved he has what it takes to play nickel corner in the NFL, which is becoming an invaluable position.
ACC (Including Notre Dame): 14
The ACC barely wiggles past the Big 10. A big reason for that is Notre Dame technically being affiliated with the ACC, so I felt it was only fair to count them. There are some pretty big names included on the roster from this conference.
The oldest being defensive end Michael Johnson. He is one of the longest tenured Bengals. He was drafted in 2009, and he only spent one season away from the team in Tampa Bay before returning. He has 40 sacks with the team.
Giovani Bernard also got his start in the ACC before being drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2013 season. He has often been relegated to second fiddle behind Jeremy Hill and Mixon, but he has been a very productive and vital member of this team.
Last but not least, the Bengals drafted tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round of the 2013 season. He has often been injured, but we will always have that magical 2015 season when he caught 13 touchdowns.
This should come as no surprise. The college with the most representatives is Georgia with five. The Bengals hit gold in Georgia with Cordy Glenn, Shawn Williams, Clint Boling, Geno Atkins and A.J. Green. The highest drafted one being Green at fourth overall.
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was also a first-round pick from this conference. He is set to be the oldest defensive back entering the season, and he has really started to fit into his leadership role quite well. The Bengals also saw rookie pass-rusher Carl Lawson announce his presence to the NFL last season. He was only a year removed from the SEC.
If it was a matter of where the most talent came from I think the SEC takes it by a landslide. It is hard to beat the Georgia products on their own, but when you add Lawson and Kirkpatrick it just puts it over the edge.
What do you think about the spread of talent from around the top conferences the Bengals have?