The battle for number 12 takes us to two quarterbacks that largely only played one full season with the Cincinnati Bengals, a draft bust and a career return man.
Greg Cook, the Bengals fifth overall selection in the 1969 NFL Draft, was praised by the legendary Bill Walsh saying that Cook could have gone down as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. He posted a 4-6-1 record in 11 starts his rookie season which included a 15 touchdowns, 1,854 yards passing and an 88.3 passer rating. He also set a rookie league record for most yards per pass attempt (9.4 yards) and most yards per pass completion (17.5). Cook suffered a torn rotator cuff during the third game of his rookie season and never recovered, waiting until 1973 to make a comeback which lasted one game.
Neil O'Donnell joined the Bengals in 1998, starting 11 games. Granted, O'Donnell was a former Steelers quarterback and during his 11 starts, the Bengals went 2-9. Yet, O'Donnell had more completions, yards passing, a better passer rating, a high completion percentage and seven less interceptions than Cook.
|Greg Cook (1969)||88.3||106||1,854||53.8||15||11|
|Neil O'Donnell (1998)||90.2||212||2,216||61.8||15||4|
Jack Thompson was drafted third overall in the 1979 NFL Draft, hand picked by Paul Brown to replace Kenny Anderson, who was suffering a collection of injuries that resulted in performance degradation. After posting a 55.1 passer rating and completing only 47.3 percent of his passes in his first 23 games over the first two seasons of his career, Thompson would be an afterthought once Anderson led the Bengals to a Super Bowl in 1981.
And finally we have Quan Cosby, who holds the franchise record for most punt return yards in a season. And it's not close. Cosby's 474 yards on punt returns in 2009 shattered Mike Martin's 1984 record of 376 yards. Cosby also ranks second all-time with 40 punt returns in a season and 114 yards in punt returns in a game and his 11.9 yard/return average in 2009 ranks third all-time in a season