Draft Rewind – Cincinnati Bengals



With the NFL draft recently completed, we continue to take a look back at each team’s hits and misses over the past 25 years.


1. Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia. 4th round, #120 overall in 2010.

An astounding 13 DTs were drafted ahead of Atkins, and only Ndirtykong Suh has matched his production. He was a starter and Pro-Bowler by his second year, and an All-Pro in year three. Atkins gets to the QB at an alarming rate, notching 26 sacks in his first 40 starts as a pro. He was on his way to another great season in 2013, before tearing an ACL in October.

2. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Oregon St. 7th round, #204 overall in 2001.

34 WR were taken in the 2001 draft; only Reggie Wayne and Steve Smith have had better careers than Houshmandzadeh. He didn’t start until his fourth season in the league, when he began a five-year stretch averaging 89 catches, 1,012 yds, and 7 TDs. His 112 catches in 2007 got him in the Pro Bowl, and put him in the top-20 all-time for receptions in a season. He was also very effective blocking downfield and in the run game.

3. Corey Dillon, RB, Washington. 2nd round, #43 overall in 1997.

While Dillon spent most of his Bengal career clashing with management, he posted some very good numbers in orange and black. His first six years averaged 1,250 yards rushing and 7 TDs, and he was fairly decent catching balls out of the backfield also. Along with O.J. Simpson, Dillon is the only RB to have run for over 245 yards in a game twice. He is currently #17 all-time in rushing (five yards ahead of O.J.)

4. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia. 1st round, 4th overall in 2011.

You have to put up some really good numbers your first three years to make this list when you’re drafted in the top-5, and Green has done just that; a Pro-Bowler all three seasons, Green has averaged 87 – 1,278 – 10, and has quickly established himself as one of the best five WR in football.

5. Andrew Whitworth, OT, LSU. 2nd round, 55th overall in 2006.

Whitworth is a nice LT (after formerly playing LG for the Bengals); but this selection emphasizes just how bad Cincinnati management has drafted. You expect a second round pick to be a long-time starter and Pro-Bowler, and Whitworth is indeed rounding into form as an excellent lineman. But if a competent LT snagged in the 2nd round is your fourth best pick in the last quarter century, it explains why they haven’t won a playoff game during that time.


1. Akili Smith, QB, Oregon. 1st round, #3 overall in 1999.

Smith was brutal in 17 starts over four years in Cincy; 5 TDs, 19 fumbles, a QB rating of 53, and a 3-14 record. The next four players drafted after Smith were Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams, Torry Holt, and Champ Bailey. Dante Culpepper was also on the board.

2. Dan Wilkinson, QB, Ohio St. 1st round, #1 overall in 1994.

SI cover boy “Big Daddy” was touted as “everyone’s #1 pick”; 27 other teams were glad they didn’t draft him #1. The best compliment you could give Big Busty was that he was durable – he suited up in 185 of 192 games his first 12 seasons. But he was an average DT. All-World RB Marshall Faulk went with the next pick, and fellow top-10 DTs Bryant Young and Sam Adams were All-Pros and won Super Bowls.

3. Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Penn St. 1st round, #1 overall in 1995.

A year later, the Bengals screwed up the first pick again. Carter tore up his knee in a preseason game his rookie year, and was unproductive when he was healthy. Over parts of seven seasons, he managed 14 starts and 3.6 yards per carry.

4. David Klingler, QB, Houston. 1st round, #6 overall in 1992

Klinger threw 83 TDs his last two seasons at Houston; his performance in the NFL was just as absurd. Cincy ignored the failures of former Houston (system) QB Andre Ware the previous two seasons in the NFL, and drafted Klingler anyway. They were rewarded with awful QB play, a 4-20 record as a starter, and a QB rating of 66.

5. Peter Warrick, WR, Florida St. 1st round, #4 overall in 2000.

Warrick dominated the college game as a wideout and return man, but was just a guy in the league. Ironically, the only WR in this draft class that went on to make a Pro Bowl was Laveranues Coles – the fall guy in the Dillard’s fiasco that cost Warrick the Heisman trophy. If you’re scoring at home, that’s 5 bad picks in the top-10 in nine years.

* This list could easily go nine deep, with dishonorable mentions to the following:

-Keith Rivers, who has been a shell of his former self after Hines Ward blew him up.

-Jerome Simpson, who had 2 lbs of weed sent to his house to compliment the 6 lbs he already had stashed that cops found when they got there.

-Chris Henry, who had five run-ins with the law in three years, including getting arrested while wearing HIS OWN BENGALS JERSEY

-Reinard Wilson, who started 24 games in six years after being drafted #14 overall.

Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com


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