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No. 10 Bengals draft bust of all-time: David Pollack

We're reviewing some of the bigger draft busts in franchise history and come across a player who, of no fault of his own, suffered a career-ending injury that shortened a storyline that could have been great.

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When populating a list of draft busts, we must acknowledge that each entry is unique. Perhaps it's a matter of lacking talent, horrible scouting, poor value, bad coaching, or questionable opportunities. In many cases, it's not even the player's fault that forces them into such an undesired category; most of which offers negative connotations. It's circumstances. It's bad luck. A raw deal. But if you make a comparison on a player based on where he's drafted and how much he contributes, then you have to include them. Injuries contribute to draft busts discussions because, in the end, that player didn't fulfill an expectation that comes along with being a high-value draft pick.

Again, it's not always their fault, nor is it fair.

David Pollack, a defensive end from the University of Georgia, entered the draft after winning the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player), the Ted Hendricks Award (top defensive end), the Lombardi Award (top offensive/defensive lineman of the year) and the Lott Trophy during his '04 campaign. As a three-time All-American, stud doesn't even come close to describing the havoc Pollack caused. 

Impressive enough with his versatility and tenacity, the Cincinnati Bengals selected him No. 17 overall in the '05 NFL Draft and said, since you were uber-successful at defensive end, we'll make you a linebacker. Pollack didn't start until Week 6 but in the final seven regular season games, he began to produce, generating 3.5 quarterback sacks while starting three of the final five games. During the wildcard game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in '05, Pollack posted eight tackles and a quarterback sack.

And before we could watch him progress, the football gods decided Pollack's career would end. In the first quarter during a Week 2 game against the Browns, Pollack collided with running back Reuben Droughns. Pollack laid immobile on the field. Due to the neck injury, Pollack missed the entire '06 and '07 seasons before deciding to retire in April of '08. That Cleveland game later proved particularly costly. Richie Braham, the team's rugged and tough center, suffered a career-ending leg injury and Tab Perry never fully recovered from his own injury after having a great rookie season as a kickoff return specialist.

No, Pollack's injury isn't his fault and certainly it isn't his fault that he goes down as a draft bust. And to be perfectly honest, we'd be alright if others decided to keep him off the list. At the same time, injuries are as much of a cause for a failed pick as any. In addition to the plight of Odell Thurman, it would take time for Cincinnati to retool their linebacker roster and pass rushers.

Eventually the Football Gods smiled on Pollack, initiating a career in broadcasting with a fast-track as one of the network's top studio analysts who also calls ESPN's Thursday Night game with Rece Davis and Jesse Palmer in the studio.