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No. 5 Bengals draft bust of all-time: Odell Thurman

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Today, we're making the case for an unexpected disappointment after a fantastic rookie season. Before there was Vontaze Burfict, there was Odell Thurman.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

NOTE: These all-time draft posts are re-posts from previous years. Since there haven't been many changes over the years, our top-10 lists are relatively the same.

As we continue with our Draft Bust and Success series, we have to make a brief introduction into a small flaw associated with this selection. Most of the time, busts are generally attributed to first round selections; but that's not always the case (especially from those that want to generically apply "bust" to everyone.

Selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Georgia linebacker Odell Thurman was the second of two linebackers expected to become a significant foundation for Cincinnati's maligned defense. Boy, he didn't disappoint in his rookie season. Along with recording 100 tackles, Odell Thurman posted five interceptions, four forced fumbles, four passes defensed and 1.5 quarterback sacks. His first year's work awarded him as a finalist for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, which was won by San Diego's Shawne Merriman.

Head coach Marvin Lewis compared Thurman to Ray Lewis, who is the benchmark for Lewis -- Vontaze Burfict has since claimed that title.

Unfortunately, Thurman's NFL career came to an abrupt end.

Along with Pollack's injury, Thurman's issues, which we'll address in a second, set the Bengals backwards with a rag-tag group of linebackers in 2007, forcing the team to address the position again during the 2008 and 2009 NFL Drafts.

During the offseason after his rookie campaign, Thurman was suspended for the first four games in 2006 after violating the league's substance abuse policy by failing to take a required test. Thurman was later arrested for drunk driving in late September 2006 and suspended for the rest of the season. You should remember that the league was addressing personal conduct policies and used Thurman, as well as Chris Henry, as examples -- this is around the time that we called Roger Goodell "The Chancellor".

In early June 2007, Thurman and his brother were accused of assaulting two men but the charges were dropped due to conflicting statements from witnesses. That didn't prevent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from denying Thurman's reinstatement into the NFL, suspending the inside linebacker for two straight years.

In April 2008, the NFL finally reinstated Thurman and the Bengals placed him on their offseason roster. Not even a month later, the Bengals waived Thurman due to another failed drug test, which prompted the league to suspend Thurman indefinitely.

Thurman has since resurfaced in the United Football League.