Bengals Draft Bust #2: David Klingler

That wascally wabbit swapped out the football. Again.

Our series of ten draft busts in franchise history reaches its penultimate selection. Before we get to that, let's quickly recap. Of our eight previous busts, we've selected three linebackers, three running backs, a quarterback and a wide receiver. Today (and you'll probably figure tomorrow), we'll add a quarterback to the group.

From 1988 through 1991, David Klingler set many passing records in college. With the Houston Cougars, Klingler recorded 716 yards in a single game and posted 54 passing touchdowns in a single season; an NCAA record until Hawaii's Colt Brennan broke it in 2006. In 1990 against Eastern Washington University, Klingler recorded 11 passing touchdowns. So the guy had a passing pedigree; outdated run and shoot offense or not.

Klinger's College Career
Att Cmp Cmp% Yards TDs
726 1,262 58% 9,430 91

After Sam Wyche left the team on Christmas Eve in 1991 -- the second Super Bowl participating Bengals coach to leave the Bengals on Christmas Eve behind Forrest Gregg in 1983 -- Boomer Esiason felt a desire to follow. Eventually Boomer privately, and secretly, asked Bengals president Mike Brown for a trade. After Boomer played out the 1992 season, Brown traded him to the New York Jets during the offseason.

Klingler, the player expected to replace Boomer Esiason who took the Bengals to a Super Bowl a few years ago, was selected by the Bengals with their sixth overall draft pick.

In four seasons with the Bengals, Klingler started 24 games, compiling a 4-20 overall starting record while posting 16 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, a 5.6 yard/pass average and a 54.2 completion percentage. Klingler left the sport after 1997, playing for only six seasons; the final two with the Oakland Raiders.

In fairness to Klingler, who took over Boomer's #7 as soon as Esiason was traded, he never had a chance. The Bengals picked the absolute worst head coach in David Shula who compiled a .268 winning percentage. His offensive line didn't provide enough protection to allow him to find open receivers, sacked on 11% of his total drop backs -- though he tended to hold onto the football a lot too. And in 1994, he was already on his way to losing his job. After going 0-7 in his seven starts in 1994, the team began easing Jeff Blake in as the starting quarterback, breathing life back into the offense and the team by winning two of the next three games.

As the sixth overall pick, David Klingler was to replace Boomer Esiason, one of the legends in Bengals history. The Klingler selection set the Bengals back several seasons by picking the wrong quarterback and setting the foundation for an entire fanbase to question every selection made by the Bengals front office personnel for years to come.


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