Just to serve as a random, interesting - though insignificant - topic for discussion, I was wondering whom you might consider to be the most talented athlete to play for the Bengals. Just to narrow down the field a bit and avoid the inevitable "if he played today with all the latest innovations in strength & conditioning and nutrition" and "they didn't really test for steroids back then" arguments, I've decided to limit this discussion to players during the Marvin era (though not opposed to pre-Marvin players being brought up).
Stacy Andrews - A 6'6", 320 lb collegiate track & field star as a hammer thrower and former high school basketball player with promising aspirations of playing in the NBA, Stacy played only five games of football during his senior year of college when he realized he'd fall short of making a professional career out of either of the aforementioned sports. Following his younger brother, Shawn, who was drafted the same year in the first round by the Eagles, Stacy was of course drafted later by the Bengals in the fourth round and nearly excelled as a RT until he blew out his knee in 2008. At the combine, he ran a 5.07' 40 yd dash, benched 34 reps (225 lbs), and had a 30" vertical leap. Not bad for a big man.
Geno Atkins - 6'2", 300 lbs, 4.75' 40-yd, 34 reps on bench, and one of the most tenacious players in the NFL. Need I say more?
Margus Hunt - Once an Olympic hopeful as an all-around thrower in track & field, Margus ended up at Southern Methodist.... you know the story. Here's the combine results: 6'8", 275 lbs, 4.53' 40-yd, 38 reps on bench, 82" wingspan.
Michael Johnson - 6'7", 270 lbs, 79" wingspan, 4.69' 40-yd, 28 reps on the bench, and 38" vertical leap. Dimensions and combine results aside, the guy looks like a freak of nature and has played at linebacker in addition to DE. Possibly the closest thing to the original "The Freak", Jevon Kearse, the NFL has had.
James Harrison - I'd be remiss if I didn't mention James Harrison (even though he hasn't played for us yet). No combine results since he wasn't even invited (as hard as that is to believe), it is claimed he benched 475 lbs and squatted over 700 lbs as a rookie. Though only 6'0, 240 lbs with marginal speed (been clocked around a 4.85' 40-yd), the guy is nothing short of a juggernaut in the box. Probably the last guy I'd want to piss off in a dark alley.
Ethan Kilmer - Many of you may not remember the short-lived career of Ethan Kilmer - the epitome of project players with raw talent. 6'0", 205 lbs with explosive speed and hops, running a 4.45' 40-yd and jumping a 41" vertical leap. He was a two-sport high school athlete in basketball and track with no football experience prior to walking onto the Penn State football team and emerging as a two-way player as a receiver and DB. The Bengals experimented with him at FS until he tore his ACL. Barring this injury, he was looking very promising.
Justin Smith - The quintessential possessor of "old man strength" as Chris Collinsworth once categorized, Justin Smith is probably a very underrated athlete. At this point in his career, he's a bit slower, but stouter with 290 lbs of raw strength. As a rookie, he was around 270 lbs at 6'4", ran a 4.64' 40-yd, put up 26 reps on the bench, and had an extremely high motor. One of the few linemen to dominate the NFL in both the interior and exterior. If I needed a lumberjack, he'd probably be the ideal candidate.
Robert Geathers - Perhaps the forerunner to Michael Johnson, a highly athletic (in his prime), 6'3", 280 lbs with a 40-yd clocked as low as 4.74', 33" vertical leap, and impressive wingspan. His athletic ability seemed to decline since his epic 10.5 sack 2006 season, but at one point he was considered the most athletic player on the defense.
Dontay Moch - I can really only go off his combine performance, because well... that's all we can go off of. But at 6'1", 250 lbs, with a 40-yd clocked as low as 4.34', vertical leap of 42", and 21 reps on the bench, he is a human marvel. Oh, the potential...
Jermaine Gresham - Prior to tearing his ACL during High School, Jermaine was once a very promising basketball player, starting as a freshman center on a Class 5A Oklahoma State championship contender, averaging 10.1 points & 6.7 rebounds per game. At 6'5", 260 lbs with a 4.66' 40-yd, 35" vertical leap, and 20 reps on the bench, he's arguably the most physically talented TE in the NFL.
Andrew Hawkins - The closest thing we have to a human joystick. Though only 5'7", he ran a 4.34' 40-yd and is by far the quickest and shiftiest player we have.
AJ Green - I wouldn't consider him to really be one of the elite athletes we've had. Though at 6'4" with a 4.5' 40-yd and good coordination, I presume he is quite the commodity. I just don't see him being able to dominate any other sport or position beyond WR.
Chad Johnson - Because I know some of you will gripe if I don't include him... Chad at 6'1" ran a 4.57 40-yd at the combine (though has claimed much faster times since) and has impressive agility. He also out-ran a horse in a 1/8 mile sprint, made it to the final four in "Dancing with the Stars", was clocked at 1.5 seconds in a bull-riding event, and tried out for a MLS team.... for whatever all that is worth. I guess I could throw in Terrell Owens as well, though by the time he played for us, he was well past his prime.
Who's your pick?