Bengals Numbers Game: The Kids Are Alright 

No. 9 leads the Bengals numbers game.
No. 9 leads the Bengals numbers game.

With the Bengals trying to stack multiple blue-chip draft classes around quarterback Joe Burrow after selecting their most productive rookie class of the century last season, the stats suggest their young players are on a par with past stars in the Paul Brown Stadium era and beyond.

It's not all that difficult to find historical companions, although it is nice if they did play in the same century. So current slot receiver Tyler Boyd is an eerie matchup with T.J. Houshmandzadeh after their first 71 NFL games and two-time 1,000-yard rusher Joe Mixon's first 50 games are in the hunt with the first 50 Bengals games of Rudi Johnson and Cedric Benson.

But even though the draft classes of Tee Higgins and Cris Collinsworth are nearly 40 years apart and Chad Johnson and A.J. Green played in different offenses with different quarterbacks, the similarity of the numbers for the Bengals Pro Bowl and future Pro Bowl wide receivers are striking.

It all starts with Burrow, of course. Before he got hurt in the middle of his 10th start, his 13 touchdown passes were more than Carson Palmer in his first ten starts, his 65.3 completion percentage is better than both Palmer and Andy Dalton in their first ten starts and his 89.8 passer rating is better than any Bengal quarterback in their first ten starts.

Defensively, check out how Jessie Bates III stacks up with fellow free safety Reggie Nelson from the previous decade in their first 48 games. David Fulcher had a different role in a different decade, but the numbers from his first 48 games in the late 1980s show why he's the Bengals greatest safety ever. Even though they had yet to keep passes defensed as a stat and the teams kept the only tackles stats, long before the advent of click-a-number web sites.

Or a by-the-decade glance on the edge, starting with incumbent ends Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson. They've also had different roles, not only from comparable players in the past but in this defense after a season Lawson became a three-down player. But the numbers beckon production.

Take a look:

  • 13 - Joe Burrow's TD passes in his first 10 starts
  • 16 - Boomer Esiason's TD passes in his first 10 starts
  • 9 - Carson Palmer's TD passes in his first 10 starts
  • 89.8 - Burrow's passer rating in first 10 starts
  • 87.5 - Greg Cook's passer rating in first 10 starts
  • 85.1 - Esiason's passer rating in first 10 starts
  • 7.3 - Jeff Blake's yards per attempt in first 10 starts
  • 6.7 - Burrow's yards per attempt in first 10 starts
  • 6.7 - Andy Dalton's yards per attempt in first 10 starts
  • 54.0 - Blake's completion percentage in first 10 starts
  • 59.3 - Dalton's completion percentage in first 10 starts
  • 65.3 - Burrow's completion percentage in first 10 starts
  • 5 - Burrow's interceptions in first 10 starts
  • 12 - Dalton's interceptions in first 10 starts
  • 13 - Palmer's interceptions in first 13 starts
  • 67 - Catches by Tee Higgins in first 15 games
  • 65 - Catches by A.J. Green in first 15 games
  • 62 - Catches by Cris Collinsworth in first 15 games
  • 1,057 - Yards caught by Green in first 15 games
  • 908 - Yards caught by Higgins in first 15 games
  • 881 - Yards caught by Collinsworth in first 15 games
  • 6 -TDs by Higgins in first 15 games
  • 7 - TDs by Green in first 15 games
  • 7 - TDs by Collinsworth in first 15 games
  • 9,430 - Yards caught by Green in his 127 Bengals games
  • 9,360 - Yards caught by Chad Johnson in his first 127 games
  • 649 - Green's career catches
  • 641 - Johnson's catches in first 127 games
  • 65 - Green's career TDs
  • 56 - Johnson's TDs in first 127 games
  • 3,743 - Tyler Boyd's career receiving yards in 71 games
  • 3,548 - T.J. Houshmandzadeh's yards caught in first 71 games
  • 20 - Houshmandzadeh's TD catches in first 71 games
  • 19 - Boyd's career TD catches
  • 321 - Boyd's career catches
  • 286 - Houshmandzadeh's catches in first 71 games
  • 812 - RB Joe Mixon's carries in his 50 NFL games
  • 835 - Rudi Johnson's carries in first 50 games
  • 1,003 - Cedric Benson's carries in first 50 Bengals games
  • 4.1 - Mixon's career yards per carry
  • 3.7 - Benson's yards per carry in first 50 Bengals games
  • 4.3 - Rudi Johnson's yards per carry in first 50 games
  • 3,359-20 - Mixon's career yards and TDs
  • 3,743-19 - Benson's yards and TDs in first 50 Bengals games
  • 3,564-29 - Rudi Johnson's yards and TDs in first 50 Bengals games
  • 9 - Interceptions by FS Jessie Bates in his 48 NFL games
  • 10 - Interceptions by FS Reggie Nelson in his first 48 Bengals games
  • 15 - Interceptions by SS David Fulcher in his first 48 games
  • 320-31 - Career tackles and passes defensed for Bates
  • 228-29 _ Tackles and passes defensed for Nelson in first 48 Bengals games
  • 315 - Tackles by Fulcher in first 48 games.
  • 16.5-177 - Career sacks and tackles for DE Sam Hubbard in 44 games
  • 18-66 - Sacks and tackles for DE Carl Lawson in first 44 games
  • 18-168 - Sacks and tackles for DE Justin Smith in first 44 games
  • 24-114 - Sacks and tackles for Carlos Dunlap in first 44 games

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