FanPost

Before we anoint this the greatest draft in NFL history....

Like most on Cincy Jungle, I’m pretty happy with the draft. They focused on the trenches, got players who were all great values, and were able to hit some needs too. Heck they even got a once-projected 1st round pick as a UFA. But before rookie camp, training camp, pre-season, or even the regular season, it’s a bit premature to know how good this 2012 crop of kids is.

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With that in mind, I offer a look at another Bengals draft that was considered a pretty awesome haul at the time. Here are the picks, and the evaluations from 2003....

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Round 1) Carson Palmer – Finally we get a great QB, who is being touted as the best pure passer since Peyton Manning came out 5 years earlier (yes, everybody is the next Peyton Manning). Unlike Akili and Klingler we’ve got an actual stud QB with a prominent pedigree and great arm.

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Round 2) Eric Steinbach – Finally, the Bengals get it. They address the O-Line with the top OG in the draft. It has been 7 years since the Bengals had taken an O-Lineman in the first couple of rounds, and it was greatly overdue. He was projected mid-round 1 and we get him in round 2, woo hoo!!!

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Round 3) Kelly Washington –A stud WR who averaged 6 catches and over 100 yards per game before an injury cut short his collegiate season. Big, strong, fast (6’3” 225 lb, 4.45-40) WR who lacks polish, but was projected as a last round 1 and we get him in round 3. What a steal!!!

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Round 4) Dennis Weathersby – He has great size & great speed (6’1” 205 lb, 4.38-40). Was a 3-time all-conf selection and graded as a 1st round talent. Was shot in the off-season, but will be fine when he recovers.

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Round 5) Khalid Abdullah – Fluid, athletic weakside LB who can cover as well as play the run. Graded as a 5th round guy w/upside who we got in round 5. Not bad.

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Our biggest needs were CB, OG, QB, FB and we got them all in this draft. Plus, many of the picks in the top half of the draft were considered steals in that they were rated much higher than we got them. Sweetness!!!!!

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So looking back in hindsight, was the 2003 draft really as great as it appeared 9 years ago?

Round 1) Carson Palmer – An enigma that I really can’t say great or bad in regards to. Looked the part of the franchise QB early in his career, leading Cincy to a division title and making a pair of pro-bowls. Played well enough to earn a big, fat extension too. After his 2005 season, he got progressively worse each year before he was finally run out of town. The biggest knock on him coming out of college was ‘leadership’, which we eventually acknowledged when his #’s weren’t good enough to mask it any more. Ultimately had 7 productive seasons and was traded away for a pair of good draft picks that turned into K Zeitler, B Thompson, and a 2nd rounder in 2012.

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Round 2) Eric Steinbach – A productive lineman who the Bengals let walk after 4 seasons. He was good. Perhaps not as good as guys like David Diehl or Dan Koppen taken later in the draft, but a solid, quality player.

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Round 3) Kelly Washington – Perhaps a bit more raw than expected when drafted (more than Jerome Simpson even?) he started a total of 6 games in his 4-year Bengals’ career and averaged 20 yards per game in the games that he appeared in. Guys with his size/speed don’t just grow on trees, so he bounced around 3 other teams in 4 more NFL seasons. The likes of Nate Burleson & Brandon Lloyd were taken after him.

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Round 4) Dennis Weathersby – Are you kidding me, who drafts a kid that just got shot? Maybe there is a reason that somebody projected in round 1 falls to round 4? He played in 4 games and didn’t make a single tackle, and that was it.

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Outside of Jermomi Johnson, nobody else who was drafted ever started a game (Langston Moore, Scott Kooistra & Elton Patterson) from the 2003 draft.

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The 2003 draft wasn't bad. But wasn't the awesome haul of talent that it appeared to be in late April of 2003.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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