Which Bengals Rookies Will Have to Pick New Numbers from What They Wore in College?

Most of the rookies the Bengals drafted are going to have switch numbers due to NFL rules or current players already wearing it.

CINCINNATI – It’s been a draft weekend tradition for years, where the Cincinnati Bengals bring in the player they selected in Thursday night’s first round and have him do a press conference with the local media on Friday.

Before the questions begin, the player stands in front of the room next to the head coach, holding up the jersey he will be wearing as a rookie.

Most Bengals Draft Picks Will Have to Switch Jersey Numbers

For Amarius Mims, whom Cincinnati selected with the No. 18 pick, the jersey number he wore in college, No. 65, was not available because it belongs to Alex Cappa.

So Mims will wear 71, which seems fitting after it once belonged to the best right tackle in franchise history in Willie Anderson.

The procedure used to repeat itself on Saturday, with the Bengals bringing in their second- and third-round picks for the same photo opportunities with their jerseys before the press conference began.

It all changed in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. And while the Bengals went back to introducing their first-round pick that way in 2021, the second- and third-round guys had to wait until rookie camp for their first exposure to the local media.

The Bengals had planned to go back to the pre-pandemic setup this year, but the team was running behind and decided to have second-round pick Kris Jenkins and third-rounders Jermaine Buton and McKinnley Jackson do an informal meet-and-greet with reporters in the media room.

But there were jerseys to show off, and the team has yet to announce on its website what those numbers will be.

Let’s take a look at what numbers the rookies may want and what’s available to project what they could be wearing in 2024.

Kris Jenkins, defensive tackle

Jenkins wore 94 at Michigan, but that number belongs to Sam Hubbard, so Jenkins is going to have to pick something new.

And it won’t be his high school number of 18, as that is not an option in the NFL.

The permitted numbers for NFL defensive linemen are 50-79 and 90-99.

Of those, the following are available 51, 52, 53, 62, 73, 74.

No. 54, which belonged to Bob Johnson, the first draft pick in team history, officially is retired, and No. 78 is unofficially retired, as no one has worn it since Anthony Muñoz retired.

Jermaine Burton, wide receiver

Burton is one of three Bengals draft picks who wore No. 3 in college, and the number is available.

As the highest pick of the trio of rookies, he should get first choice.

And by wearing his college number and earning a starting job, the Bengals receivers could be representing the city’s area code of 513 with Tee Higgins (5), Ja’Marr Chase (1) and Burton (3).

McKinnley Jackson, defensive tackle

Jackson also wore No. 3 in college, but that’s not an option for a defensive lineman, even if Burton goes a different direction. Jackson also wore 35, which is not in play.

In high school, Jackson wore 99, which belongs to Myles Murphy, and 44, which also isn’t allowed for his position.

Looks like a fresh start for Jackson.

Erick All, tight end

All wore 83 at Fairfield High School, Michigan, and Iowa. And it’s available with the team not re-signing Tyler Boyd.

So it feels like a lock for All to take 83 again.

Josh Newton, cornerback

Newton wore Nos. 2 and 24 at TCU, but those belong to Evan McPherson and Vonn Bell, respectively.

Newton wore Nos. 9 and 20 in high school, but Joe Burrow and DJ Turner II aren’t giving those up.

The good news for Newton is there will be plenty to pick from, as defensive backs are allowed to wear anything from 0-49.

Tanner McLachlan, tight end

As is the case with All, McLachlan steps into an ideal scenario where his college number of 84 is available.

Cedric Johnson, edge rusher

Johnson was a big man with a little number in college, but he’s going to have to look elsewhere with McPherson owning No. 2.

He wore 44 in high school, but Johnson has to be in the 50-79 or 90-99 range with the Bengals.

Daijahn Anthony, defensive back

The third No. 3 in the draft class, Anthony likely will have to defer to Burton.

KEEP READING: Cincinnati Bengals Final NFL Draft Grades 2024

Anthony wore Nos. 22 and 8 at Liberty, and 8 currently is available.

Matt Lee, center

He wore 55 in college, but that belongs to linebacker Logan Wilson.

Given the parameters in place for offensive linemen and the current numbers available, Lee will have seven to pick from: 51, 52, 53, 62, 68, 73, 74

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