With today’s signing of UNC running back Giovani Bernard, the final piece of the 2011 Cincinnati Bengals overhaul is now in place. The deal concludes the 2011 trade with the Oakland Raider, in which they traded franchise QB Carson Palmer for a first-round draft pick in 2012, which was later used on Alabama All-American cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and a 2013 second-rounder, which turned out to be Bernard. But this was just one of many significant trades the team made in 2011, which drastically re-shaped the team and turned them into a winner.
The Bengals’ first significant trade of the 2011 season came when they traded the franchise leader in receiving yards (10,507), receptions (751) and touchdown receptions (65) in Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots for a fifth-rounder, which they converted into Cal receiver Marvin Jones, who is now expected to contend for a starting spot after starting the final 6 games (including playoffs) in 2012.
The Bengals also netted a 2013 sixth-rounder, which landed them Arkansas receiver Cobi Hamilton, who has already impressed in rookie minicamps, and many people expect him to make the 53-man roster as the team’s 5th or 6th WR.
When the Bengals traded outside linebacker Keith Rivers to the New York Giants prior to the 2012 NFL Draft, it netted them a fifth-rounder which they turned into Boise State safety George Iloka, who was regarded as one of the draft’s top safety prospects, and is expected to compete for significant playing time this season.