After losing Landon Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, Chris Perry, Stacy Andrews and Robert Geathers are the only players under contract from the 2004 draft. Andrews is likely to sign the one-year Franchise deal if no long-term deal can be worked out. Geathers bumped into a pay-day after a 10.5 sack season in 2006. And you pretty much know about Perry. Caleb Miller, heading to Seattle for a visit, isn't expected back.
Ironically, Madieu Williams, Johnson and Justin Smith all signed with NFC teams. The Bengals play the NFC East and will not see "the main three".
The 2005 draft hasn't returned much of an investment. There's several reasons why -- such as long-term injuries and suspensions. Neither Pollack or Thurman have played since early 2006. Henry has missed significant time due to several suspensions. Adam Kieft never played a down before the team declined to tender him. Tab Perry does have interest from other teams, but the Bengals are making a minimum effort at retaining him after declining to tender him. The team signed Jonathan Fanene to an extension -- the first, and what could be final, extension in this class.
Look at the 2006 draft. Johnathan Joseph has played well when healthy -- which he wasn't in 2007. Andrew Whitworth has started 28 of 32 possible games at guard and tackle. Frostee Rucker hardly plays -- either simply inactive or because of injury. Domata Peko became a starter with the limited overall talent at that position. A.J. Nicholson was cut from Arena Football's Orlando Predators about two weeks ago. Reggie McNeal, at last report, joined CFL's Toronto Argonauts. That's two players not in the NFL that were drafted less than two years ago. In Nicholson's case, he's simply not playing football and McNeal is on the border of being cut as his team keeps acquiring quarterbacks.
Last season, the Bengals lost the team's fifth-pick, Matt Toeaina, after the Chicago Bears stole him because Toeaina was on the practice squad for way too long. Toeaina played the Bears final three games as a backup recording six tackles.