Last week, the eyes of the football nation were locked on an epic SEC matchup in Alabama which featured the two most likely candidates to be the first player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Bengals are the most likely team to hold that pick, but if their history has taught us anything it is that they will be just as interested in this week’s SEC matchup in Alabama between Georgia and Auburn.
Some of the Bengals best current players are from Georgia, and some of their best players historically have been from Auburn.
Let’s take a look at some of the Bengals and former Bengals who have participated in the deep south’s oldest rivalry game.
Georgia heads into this game ranked 5th in the nation with a record of 8-1. The two most dominant players on the Bengals roster are former Georgia Bulldogs.
Geno Atkins has been such an incredible player for the Bengals that it is hard to believe that he was a 4th Round pick in 2010. With 74 sacks and counting, he is the team’s all-time leader in that category and has gone to the Pro Bowl 7 times. Crazy for a guy who had 11 sacks in his entire college career with the majority of them coming 3 years before he entered the draft.
A year after selecting Atkins in the 4th Round the Bengals selected another Bulldog, A.J. Green, with the 4th pick. They paired him with their 2nd Round pick that year, quarterback Andy Dalton, and the pair were the identity of the Bengals offense for years. Green was a transcendent player and the biggest playmaker the Bengals offense has had in some time. Hopefully he returns from injury just as strong.
Other Bengals who played in Athens include safety Shawn Williams and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn. Recently retired offensive guard Clint Boling was also a Bulldog,
The Bengals made Georgia’s David Pollack their 1st Round pick in 2005. Pollack could have been an excellent player, but unfortunately a major back injury led to an early retirement. Practice squad defensive end Davin Bellamy also played for the Dawgs.
Auburn is 7-2 this season and currently ranked 13th in the country.
Defensive end Carl Lawson and tight end C.J. Uzomah both played at Auburn. 2019 6th Round pick and current free agent Deshaun Davis did as well.
Auburn’s mark on the Bengals is more of a historical one. Offensive tackle Willie Anderson was the best player on some of the Bengals worst teams, but was also there when the team ended their playoff drought in 2005. The Bengals selected him with the 10th overall pick in 1996 and he quickly established himself as one of the league’s best offensive linemen. He played 12 outstanding seasons with the Bengals before moving on to Baltimore for his last year.
His professional career overlapped with a couple of other Tiger greats who became Bengal greats. 1998 1st Round pick Takeo Spikes was an excellent linebacker, but decided to leave Cincinnati after his rookie contract expired. Rudi Johnson is perhaps the most underrated back in the franchise’s history. After running for 957 yards while sharing the backfield with Corey Dillon in 2003, Johnson rushed for over 1,300 yards for 3 consecutive seasons. His 5,742 career rushing yards place him 3rd on the team’s all-time leader board. Dillon is #1, but between the two is another former Auburn Tiger James Brooks.
The Bengals have an excellent history with both Georgia and Auburn. Perhaps there will be a few future Bengals strapping up for this weekend’s game.