The Cincinnati Bengals now lead the league in former Ohio State Buckeye players heading into the 2020 campaign.
In recent years, the New Orleans Saints rostered the most former Ohio State players, a fact that drew media attention due to their overwhelming success. This offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals quietly took that mantle with a total of six former Buckeyes apart of their team.
Sam Hubbard, Vonn Bell, Michael Jordan, Billy Price, Isaiah Prince, and technically, Joe Burrow, all traded in the scarlet and grey for orange and black. The organizations with the next most ex-Ohio State players are the Raiders, Lions, and Washington, each with four representatives.
It should come as no surprise that under Zac Taylor’s watch, the presence from the Big-10 powerhouse has increased significantly. The program is known for instilling leadership and a championship mindset in their players, qualities that the current coaching regime has made clear they want to build around.
Of the players on the roster, three of them were apart of Ohio State’s college football championship run. In addition, each played an integral role in numerous division championships, impressive bowl game victories, and countless wins. Long story short, they know all about winning football.
Ohio’s best will lead the way for the Bengals
Some of Ohio’s best will be heavily leaned upon in Cincinnati moving forward. Obviously, Burrow is the face of the franchise the path to ending the playoff drought runs through him.
Outside of him, three others are expected to be starters and big-time contributors. Vonn Bell is one of the front office’s prized free-agent acquisitions and will undoubtedly provide leadership as well as turnovers. It was a move that Bengals’ legend David Fulcher viewed the team needed, in part because of his pedigree.
Michael Jordan currently projects to be the team’s left guard after a rookie campaign that showed promise down the stretch. If he can make a leap in development, it could spark the offensive line.
Finally, there is Sam Hubbard, who is the team’s starting defensive end. After being drafted in the third round, the safety turned defensive lineman has exceeded expectations, earning the most sacks of any player from his draft class. He’s performed so well that his positional coach, Nick Eason, expects him to have a Pro Bowl season in the upcoming year.
More Ohio State players could be on the way too. Former Buckeye linebacker Darron Lee recently generated buzz about a return to Ohio after interacting with a tweet that suggested the Bengals should sign him.
Of course, Ohio State is consistently pumping out top tier prospects as well. Any number of players could be the next to don stripes after next year’s draft.
For now, it seems as if the Bengals have developed a pipeline running from Columbus to Cincinnati. That’s a great thing, considering the recent success of Ohio State players in the NFL.