Despite an agonizing end to the Bengals season in January, that doesn’t mean the grind stops for those world-class athletes. Throughout this offseason, everyone from Ja’Marr Chase to Sam Hubbard will spend countless tiring days and nights in the weight room and on the practice field. Perhaps some of them will even pick up America’s fastest-growing participation sport, our beloved pickleball!
As a Cincinnati-based company, and with the excitement of last weekend’s thrilling Major League Pickleball event, we thought it might be fun to draft our ideal pickleball team using Bengals players. An MLP team consists of two men & two women, but for this, we will be selecting two offensive & two defensive players (sorry Evan McPherson, we love you!).
First Pick: Tee Higgins
This was a no-brainer. Tee’s elite athleticism & hands translate excellently to the pickleball courts and his 6’4 height paired with a whopping 81-inch wingspan will make it nearly impossible to hit a drop in his direction. And don’t even think about lobbing him. Before committing fully to the gridiron and joining Clemson’s football team, Higgins was one of the nation’s top basketball recruits in his high school class. At one point he was ESPN Top 100’s eighteenth-best player in the 2017 class, ahead of now-NBA superstars Trae Young and Jordan Poole. He even had scholarship offers to play both basketball & football at major Division 1 universities such as Tennessee. We’re sure thrilled he stuck with football and ended up in Cincinnati!
Second Pick: Eli Apple
Admittedly controversial, an expert trash-talking, hyper-athletic player on your team is never a bad thing! Eli makes waves every now & then for some aggressive Twitter-fingers but no one is denying that 4.40 40-yard dash time & his 13 bench press reps of 225 pounds. That speed = elite court coverage and the strength surely can be cha nneled into an overpowering forehand drive. Sounds like a singles specialist to me which we’ll certainly need if we reach any DreamBreakers!
Third Pick: Joe Burrow
Every team needs a fearless leader & after leading the city of Cincinnati to back-to-back AFC Championship games and a Super Bowl in just his first three years in the league, it’s clear Burrow is the man for the job. A multi-sport athlete growing up with deadly precision who’s also calm, cool, and collected in the biggest moments? Sign us up. Plus, we’d love to hear announcers try to say “Burrow’s backhand with his Baddle Ballista Elongated Paddle brings back another big point for the Baddle Bengals”.
Fourth Pick: Evan McPherson
After further consideration, we’ve changed our minds. Money Mac absolutely must be included on this team. His clutch gene is undeniable and the body control required to nail 50-yard field goals on the regular no-doubt translates to an excellent soft game. As the latest in a 70-year-long McPherson-family kicking dynasty based out of Fort Payne, Alabama, and the heir apparent to Justin Tucker’s best-kicker-in-the-NFL throne, McPherson is used to lofty expectations which we’re happy to bestow upon him because we fully expect our handpicked squad to carry Cincinnati to an MLP championship win in the near future!
Average Age: 25 years old
Average Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Average Weight: 205 pounds
Average DUPR: N/A (yet…)
Written by Cody Brick, Baddle Ambassador