Louisiana pipeline to Cincinnati Bengals has been busy for many years
The Cincinnati Bengals historically have benefited from Louisiana-cultivated talent on their roster throughout their 54 years of existence.
These days, the face of the franchise is their starting quarterback, former LSU star and Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow.
In the 2021 NFL draft, the Bengals turned their eyes again toward Louisiana in taking three players, top pick Ja’Marr Chase of LSU and a pair of 4th round selections, Tulane defensive lineman Cameron Sample and LSU nose tackle Tyler Shelvin. Former Hahnville High star Pooka Williams came aboard as an undrafted free agent. Former LSU tight end Thad Moss was also added in the offseason as a free agent.
Former St. Augustine wideout Stanley Morgan, the all time leading receiver at Nebraska, is on the Bengals ’21 roster along with former Tulane cornerback and Baton Rouge native Donnie Lewis.
Cincinnati has long ago recognized the fertile football soil in the Pelican State, particularly LSU where 15 other former Tigers have donned the Bengal stripes. Three former Tulane players and a dozen more individuals who suited up for other Louisiana prep and/or college teams have also spent part or all of their NFL careers with the Bengals.
The ‘Bengal Tigers’
-LB Bo Harris, 3rd round pick (1975-’82), 103 contests, 74 starts. Product of Captain Shreve in Shreveport.
-CB Tory James (2003-’06) Archbishop Shaw alum and ex-LSU star had 21 interceptions, along with 231 tackles in four seasons with Cincy highlighted by a 2004 Pro Bowl selection.
-RB Charles Alexander, 1st round pick out of LSU (1979-’85) tallied 2,645 career yards and 13 touchdowns, sharing Bengal backfield duties with Archie Griffin and Pete Johnson. Helped Cincinnati reach their first Super Bowl.
-OT Andrew Whitworth, 2nd round pick in 2006, is still going strong in the NFL with LA Rams but spent 2006-’16 with Bengals. West Monroe product has made four Pro Bowls, three with Bengals.
-DB Tommy Cassanova, the only three-time All American in LSU history, was a Bengals 2nd round pick (’72-’77) and made three Pro Bowls. He was a 1976 1st team All Pro. Notre Dame of Crowley alum made 17 career interceptions, returing two for scores.
-DT Kenny Davidson (2006-’07) Huntington of Shreveport product.
-WR Skyler Green (2006-’07) L.W. Higgins alum was All American return man at LSU in 2005 with four punts run back for touchdowns during Tigers’ career.
-OG Nate Livings (2008-’11) made 63 starts for Bengals alongside Whitworth despite the fact that Washington-Marion of Lake Charles alum was an undrafted free agent.
-CB Mark Roman, a New Iberia native and 2nd round pick (2000-’03), had 173 tackles and two picks.
-OL Ben Wilkerson (2005-’06) All American at LSU ’04.
-RB Jeremy Hill, 2nd round pick in 2014, totaled 2,873 yards and 29 scores during four seasons in Cincinnati, including 1,124 yards as rookie. Redemptorist product.
-WR James Wright, 7th round pick (2014-’16) and Belle Chasse alum played five seasons in NFL, making his way as a strong blocker.
-WR Brandon LaFell (2016-’17) played nine total seasons in NFL, tallying 116 catches for 1410 yards and 9 TD’s with Bengals.
-DB White Graves, 17th round pick in 1965, played 40 games with Patriots and only two games for Cincinnati. Academic All-SEC at LSU, his son Sol was a QB at LSU.
-WR Bennie Brazell, 7th round pick (2006-’07) was a 14-time track All American and 2004 Olympic Games finalist.
Besides current Bengals cornerback Donnie Lewis, there have been three former Tulane Green Wave standouts to suit up for Cincinnati.
-TE Rodney Holman, 2nd round pick (’82-’92) made 146 NFL starts, 120 with Bengals. While in Cincinnati, he had 318 catches, 4,771 yards and 36 TD’s for some of the most potent teams in franchise history including the Super Bowl team from 1988.
-CB Mitchel Price, 9th round pick (1990-’92) played 34 games in Bengal stripes. Returned two punts for touchdowns.
-CB Eric Thomas, 3rd rounder (’87-’92) was a Pro Bowl choice in 1988. Made 68 starts with 18 interceptions and one touchdown return plus 239 tackles.
Other former Louisiana products who wore Bengal colors…
-WR Charlie Joiner (’72-75) 29 starts 82 catches, 1463 yards, 6 TD’s. Went from Many, La. to Grambling to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after 18 seasons.
-DE Jim Griffin, spent 1968 in Cincinnati. Grambling alum and Lake Charles native.
-RB Essex Johnson (’68-’75) Grambling product and Shreveport native totaled 3,070 yards rushing with 19 TD’s plus 146 catches 1,742 yards and 12 more scores.
-NT Curtis Maxey, 1988 with Bengals, Grambling.
-DE Mike St. Clair (’80-’82) 34 games over three seasons. Grambling.
-Safety Bryan Hicks (’80-’84) 24 starts with Bengals. St. Louis Catholic and McNeese in Lake Charles.
-LB Al Beauchamp (’68-’75) Southern alum from Baton Rouge played 111 games with 15 interceptions, 2 TD’s.
-LB Gary Reasons (1992) Northwestern State product made nine starts in ’92 after stellar career with Giants.
-LB Steve Foley (’98-’02) ULM product made 96 career NFL starts, 46 in Cincinnati where he totaled 137 tackles with 14 for losses.
-LB Eric Shaw (’92-’94) transfer from Florida State to LA Tech played 28 games and made 64 tackles.
-DE Artie Smith (’94-’96) LA Tech product was a starter in 1995. He played 23 games for Bengals with 78 tackles and two sacks.
-WR Stepfret Williams, spent 1998 in Cincinnati. ULM product also played three seasons with Cowboys. Leading all-time receiver at ULM (3,177 yards, 33 touchdowns).
As a bonus mention, coach Brad Kragthorpe, who spent time on LSU roster (2012-’15) and coaching staff (2018), is now an offensive assistant on the current Bengals staff.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…