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Big draft class won't deter Bengals from keeping all 11 picks

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals have 11 picks in the 2017 draft, one of their largest classes in some time.

For many teams, having that many picks would suggest wiggle room to take developmental players with no guarantees they'll make the final roster.

Not the Bengals.

Recent history suggests that the Bengals are likely to keep every one of their picks, or at least keep nine to 10 with a player or two going to the practice squad.

Cincinnati has made 44 picks in the last five drafts (2012-16), with 28 players remaining on the roster. Of those picks, 40 players completed their first season on the team, with three going to the practice squad -- 2012 sixth-round pick Dan Herron, 2013 sixth-rounder Cobi Hamilton and 2014 seventh-rounder Reid Fragel.

Only one player did not even make the practice squad -- 2014 seventh-round pick Lavelle Westbrooks, who was waived with an injury settlement after a 2014 thumb injury.

The Bengals have made no secret of how highly they value the draft. It's how they prefer to build their roster instead of going the free-agency route. While some teams are willing to move on quickly from unproductive classes, Cincinnati views the draft as an important longterm investment with many players being brought along slowly. A player drafted by the Bengals will probably be given every opportunity to make the team.

However, the Bengals are going to have to figure out just how all these players fit on their roster.

This particular class is the biggest since 2009, a class that also had 11 picks and produced Andre Smith, Rey Maualuga, Michael Johnson and Kevin Huber.

It also produced Chase Coffman (fourth round) and Jonathan Luigs (fifth), who are the rare exceptions as selections above the sixth round who only stuck around Cincinnati for one season.

Another big class could produce more exceptions. But if the Bengals follow history, the entire 2017 draft class will be sticking around in some form for at least one year.