The Bengals unveiled the jersey numbers of their 2021 draft class and they literally ran the gamut with LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase taking No. 1 for the first time in franchise history and college teammate Tyler Shelvin hauling down No. 99.
"It's a legacy I can leave now. Start up the new and keep it going," said Chase during his visit to Paul Brown Stadium last week. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity start a legacy and keep it going."
He says the number also allows him to keep his "Uno," nickname. The 350-pound Shelvin takes the number usually reserved for Bengals nose tackles of late. The last man to wear No. 99 for more than a season, Andrew Billings from 2017-19, was also taken with the same 122nd pick in the fourth round.
Kicker Evan McPherson, the fifth-round pick, could become just the third Bengal to wear No. 2. Before Mike Nugent kicked with it for seven seasons, backup quarterback Anthony Wright wore it in 2006.
Second-rounder Jackson Carman kept the No. 79 from his days as Clemson's left tackle and seventh-rounder Wyatt Hubert kept the No. 56 he wore on Kansas State's edge.
Since defensive linemen can only wear numbers from 50-79 and 90-99, third-round edge player Joseph Ossai couldn't wear the No. 46 he wore at Texas. So he's been handed the No. 58 Carl Lawson wore on the edge the previous four seasons. Fourth-rounder Cam Sample, also an edge, made the biggest leap from his No. 5 at Tulane to No. 96, the jersey worn by Carlos Dunlap in the previous 11 seasons he rung up the second most sacks in team history with 82.5
Fourth-rounder D'Ante Smith, ticketed for tackle, now has No. 70 after wearing No. 67 at East Carolina. Georgia center Trey Hill, a sixth-rounder, is in No. 63 since linebacker Logan Wilson has the No. 55 Hill wore in Athens.
Before running back Giovani Bernard arrived in 2013, No. 25 had been worn by defensive backs for 32 straight years. His eight-year run that ended last month has put it back in the offensive category with sixth-rounder Chris Evans, a running back from Michigan, assigned No. 25.