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.
Our series of 10 draft busts in franchise history reaches its penultimate selection. Before we get to that, let's quickly recap. Of our eight previous busts, we've selected three linebackers, three running backs, a quarterback and a wide receiver. Today (and, as you'll probably figure, tomorrow), we'll add a quarterback to the group.
From 1988 through 1991, David Klingler was the king of college quarterbacks. There were collegiate all-time records and there was David Klingler. With the Houston Cougars, Klingler recorded 716 yards in a single game and posted 54 passing touchdowns in a single season; an NCAA record until Hawaii's Colt Brennan broke it in 2006. In 1990, against Eastern Washington University, Klingler recorded 11 passing touchdowns. The guy had a passing pedigree and an outdated run.
|Klinger's College Career|
After Sam Wyche left the Bengals on Christmas Eve in 1991 -- the second Super Bowl participating Bengals coach to leave the Bengals on Christmas Eve behind Forrest Gregg in 1983 -- Boomer Esiason felt a desire to follow. Eventually Boomer privately, and secretly, asked Bengals president Mike Brown for a trade. After Boomer played out the 1992 season, Brown traded him to the New York Jets during the offseason.
Klingler, the player expected to replace Boomer Esiason who took the Bengals to a Super Bowl a few years prior, was selected by the Bengals with their sixth overall draft pick.
It was a miserable experience.
In four seasons with the Bengals, Klingler started 24 games, compiling a 4-20 overall starting record while posting 16 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, a 5.6 yard/pass average and a 54.2 completion percentage. Klingler left the sport after 1997, playing for only six seasons, the final two with the Oakland Raiders.
In fairness to Klingler, who clearly had a thing for symbolism by wearing No. 7 as soon as Esiason was traded, he never had a chance. The Bengals picked the absolute worst head coach in David Shula, who compiled a .268 winning percentage. His offensive line didn't provide any protection -- sacked on 11% of his total drop backs -- though he tended to hold onto the football a lot too. After going 0-7 in his seven starts in 1994, the team began easing Jeff Blake in as the starting quarterback, breathing life into the offense, and the team, winning two of the next three games.
As the sixth overall pick, David Klingler was THE MAN to replace Boomer Esiason, one of the legends in Bengals history. The Klingler selection set the Bengals back several seasons because it required another effort into the "franchise quarterback" riddle and disgruntled an entire generation of fans for years to come.