Carson Palmer from USC after being selected first by the Cincinnati Bengals at the 2003 NFL Draft on April 26, 2003 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Palmer agreed to a $40 million/seven year deal on April 24 that includes a $10 million signing bonus, with another $4 million bonus due in two years. He will make $18.25 million in the first three years through bonuses and salary. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Playing time tough to find for Bengals rookies in Marvin Lewis era

But it’s becoming increasingly harder for rookies to come in and make an impact on a team that has been to the playoffs five years in a row and goes into every offseason with the intent of re-signing as many of its own players as it can.

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Since the Marvin Lewis era began in 2003, the Bengals have drafted 125 players. Only 27 of them have appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, and just three have started all 16 games.

Second-round wide receiver Tyler Boyd has the best opportunity to join that elite list given the status of his position heading into training camp.

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The most combined starts by a rookie class was 34 in 2011, with 31 of them belonging to first-round wide receiver A.J. Green (15) and second-round quarterback Andy Dalton (16).

The most combined games played is 90 by the 2009 class, which also featured the most draft picks (11). And while this year’s group will have a tough time topping that number, the first four picks – cornerback William Jackson, Boyd, linebacker Nick Vigil and defensive tackle Andrew Billings — have a chance to be regular contributors at least on special teams, if not at their given positions.

Here is a look at how past rookies and their classes have fared in the Lewis era:

Most starts by rookie (draft round in parenthesis)

16 – Andy Dalton (2), 2011

16 – Kevin Zeitler (1), 2012

16 – Russell Bodine (4), 2014

15 – Eric Steinbach (2), 2003

15 – Odell Thurman (2), 2005

15 – Rey Maualuga (2), 2009

15 – A.J. Green (1), 2011

15 – Tyler Eifert (1), 2013

13 – Jeremi Johnson (4), 2003

13 – Madieu Williams (2), 2004

12 – Andrew Whitworth (2), 2006

11 – Landon Johnson (3), 2004

10 – Leon Hall (1), 2007

10 – Jermaine Gresham (1), 2010

Most games started by a first-round pick

16 – Kevin Zeitler, 2016

15 – A.J. Green, 2015

15 – Tyler Eifert, 2013

10 – Jermaine Gresham, 2010

9 – Johnathan Joseph, 2006

7 – Keith Rivers, 2008

5 – David Pollack, 2005

1 – Andre Smith, 2009

0 – Carson Palmer, 2003

0 – Chris Perry, 2004

0 – Dre Kirkpatrick, 2012

0 – Darqueze Dennard, 2014

0 – Cedric Ogbuehi, 2015

Most games started by a second-round pick

16 – Andy Dalton, 2011

15 – Eric Steinbach, 2003

15 – Odell Thurman, 2005

15 – Rey Maualuga, 2009

13 – Madieu Williams, 2004

12 – Andrew Whitworth, 2006

8 – Jeremy Hill, 2014

5 – Keiwan Ratliff, 2004

1 – Jerome Simpson, 2008

1 – Jake Fisher, 2015

0 – Kenny Irons, 2007

0 – Carlos Dunlap, 2010

0 – Devon Still, 2012

0 – Giovani Bernard, 2013

0 – Margus Hunt, 2013

Most rookie starts by player drafted in fifth round or later (draft round in parenthesis)

5 – Marvin Jones (5), 2012

2 – Bernard Scott (6), 2009

2 – Chinedum Ndukwe (7), 2007

1 – Jonathan Fanene (7), 2005

Most starts by Bengals rookie class in Marvin Lewis era

34 – 2011

33 – 2004

31 – 2003

30 – 2012

27 – 2005

27 – 2006

24 – 2008

24 – 2014

18 – 2009

15 – 2007

15 – 2010

15 – 2013

2 – 2015

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