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Zac Taylor continues to reshape Bengals’ culture

Team captains a priority in 2020 NFL Draft

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NCAA Football: Senior Bowl
Zac Taylor
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Zac Taylor has a plan. A big part of that plan begins with the letter “C.”

“It’s a new year and we are focused on building a winning culture that creates excitement for Bengals fans,” Taylor said in a letter to season ticket holders earlier this year. “We’re officially ‘On the Clock’ for the 2020 NFL Draft and have a lot of draft capital that can improve our team.”

One reason the Bengals are trying to change the culture has to do with re-establishing a winning attitude in the Queen City. That means adding pieces from winning programs. Free-agent signees D.J. Reader, Trae Waynes, Xavier Su’a-Filo, Mackensie Alexander, Josh Bynes and Von Bell all have recent playoff experience.

“It certainly helps our culture when you add guys that have recently been playing for a championship,” Taylor said at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. “And obviously that’s where we intend to be very quickly.”

The pursuit of that culture did not end there. Six of the Bengals’ seven picks in the 2020 NFL Draft were team captains. First-round pick and No. 1 overall selection Joe Burrow was a two-team captain at LSU.

Third-round selection Logan Wilson was a three-time team captain at Wyoming, and a member of the North squad at the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Fourth-round pick Akeem Davis-Gaither of Appalachian State was voted team captain for the South squad, the team that was coached by the Bengals.

Khalid Kareem, the Cincinnati’s fifth-round selection out of Notre Dame, was a team captain for the Fighting Irish, and sixth-round choice Abdul Adeniji was selected as a team captain at Kansas.

Cincinnati’s final selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, Markus Bailey, was a defensive captain at Purdue.

And it was all part of the plan.

“It’s part of our process of establishing our culture and making sure we get the most out of our coaches and players and being prepared to be successful when September rolls around,” Taylor told ESPN’s Ben Baby.

The Bengals went into this offseason with a very clear plan, and the executed it very well. They won’t be short on leadership for quite sometime. There is no doubt that culture shouldn’t be a concern for that much longer.