Cincy Jungle's own Paul Cannon wrote extensively about a series of trades that took place in 2004. Originally with the 17th overall selection, before the draft the Bengals traded their first round pick to Denver for the Broncos' first round pick (24th overall), the Broncos fourth round pick (117th overall) and cornerback Deltha O'Neal. Then the Bengals traded their newly acquired first round pick to St. Louis for the Rams 26th overall selection and fourth round pick (123rd overall).
After it was all said and done, the Bengals picked up two fourth round picks and cornerback Deltha O'Neal, who would be a Pro Bowl cornerback in 2006. And the price they paid was falling from the 17th overall selection in the first round to the 26th overall pick. All things considered, this isn't a bad methodology in which to acquire picks; one that the team could desperately employ heading into the 2011 NFL Draft.
It just so happened the Bengals selected a bust with Chris Perry with the 26th overall selection during the 2004 NFL Draft.
During his senior year at the University of Michigan, Perry posted 1,674 yards rushing with 18 rushing touchdowns. He finished fourth in the 2003 Heisman Trophy voting, but won the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's best running back. Perry was also named the Big Ten MVP, the Jim Brown trophy winner in 2003 and First-Team All-American the same season.
As we've pointed out throughout this entire process, we do believe it's unfair that injured players could be featured as busts, like David Pollack, Peter Warrick and Ki-Jana Carter. Regardless, being a bust isn't a complex science. If you were selected high in the draft with a heavy college pedigree, yet never performed at a high level in the NFL, then bust is often the most accurate description; even if injuries were the culprit.
And injuries killed his career. Perry suffered a hamstring strain during the preseason that slowed his rookie season, which would abruptly end with a sports hernia during practice in late October. Perry began the 2006 season on the PUP list (Players Unable to Perform) with knee and ankle injuries, finally returning to practice in mid-October. His season lasted a month before suffering a right ankle dislocation against the Cleveland Browns in late November. Perry was never medically cleared at the start of the 2007 season and his roster exemption expired by late November. Perry never played a down that season.
After Rudi Johnson was cut before the 2008 season, Perry was finally handed the keys as the team's feature back. It didn't last. After six starts in which he averaged 2.6 yards/rush, fumbling five times, the Bengals would eventually focus on the newly acquired Cedric Benson for the rest of the season -- and the two seasons that followed.
Unquestionably, Perry's career-year came in 2005 where the running back nearly broke a franchise record for most receptions by a running back with 51 grabs. He also scored two receiving touchdowns that year and averaged 4.6 yards/rush on 61 carries. It was also the most games he played in a single year (14).
Perry was finally released on April 27, 2009 where he's become a journeyman for two United Football League teams; the Florida Tuskers and the Sacramento Mountain Lions.
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