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Bengals Draft Class Tournament: Round One - #3 (2006) vs. #14 (2005)

The 2006 Draft Class (#3 overall) of Andrew Whitworth and Jonathan Joseph look to hold off the #14 seeded 2005 draft class of David Pollack and Odell Thurman.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Even though these two draft classes were only one year separated, their results were not at all similar. The 2005 draft class consisted of a few players with flash in the pan careers, while the following year gave us productive, long tenured NFL starters, two of whom remain on the Bengals today.

2006 Draft Class (#3)

Year Round Pick Player Pos To All Pro Seasons Pro Bowl Seasons Years as Starter G Int Sk
2006 1 24 Johnathan Joseph DB 2015 0 2 9 ## 26
2006 2 55 Andrew Whitworth T 2015 1 2 9 ##
2006 3 91 Frostee Rucker DE 2015 0 0 3 ## 1 20
2006 4 123 Domata Peko DT 2015 0 0 9 ## 19
2006 5 157 A.J. Nicholson LB 2006 0 0 0 2
2006 6 193 Reggie McNeal QB 2006 0 0 0 7
2006 7 209 Ethan Kilmer WR 2006 0 0 0 16 1
2006 7 231 Bennie Brazell WR 0 0 0

Johnathan Joseph has been a very good, productive, starting cornerback in the NFL for a decade. He’s a two time Pro-Bowl player, and has 26 career interceptions. He left Cincinnati for free Gatorade in Houston, but was a big part of the Bengals' defense when he was in Cincinnati, and has been good in the Lone Star state.

Second round pick Andrew Whitworth perhaps signaled the beginning of a trend in Bengals’ drafting, moving to more BPA selections early in the draft. Big Whit didn’t have an obvious home on the O-Line when he was picked, with a solid left tackle, Levi Jones, on the roster already. But he began as the left guard, before moving to left tackle, where he has perennially been one of the best left tackles in the game.

Domata Peko has become a fixture on the Bengals’ defensive line over the last decade helping to anchor a pretty good defensive line over that stretch. When a player is on your roster for a decade, you know that was a good draft pick.

The 2006 draft started with a bang, but went out with a dud, as none of the last four picks ever contributed much of anything in the NFL. Will the #3 seed advance, or will they lose favor with voters due to the sharp drop off after round 4, and because Joseph’s best seasons came after he left Cincinnati?

2005 Draft Class (#14)

Year Round Pick Player Pos To All Pro Seasons Pro Bowl Seasons Years as Starter G Int Sk
2005 1 17 David Pollack LB 2006 0 0 0 16 4.5
2005 2 48 Odell Thurman LB 2005 0 0 1 16 5 1.5
2005 3 83 Chris Henry WR 2009 0 0 0 55
2005 4 119 Eric Ghiaciuc C 2008 0 0 3 48
2005 5 153 Adam Kieft T 0 0 0
2005 6 190 Tab Perry WR 2007 0 0 0 20
2005 7 233 Jonathan Fanene DE 2011 0 0 1 71 1 13.5

The 2005 draft featured the Bengals double dipping twice, with unsuccessful results. They grabbed a pair of Georgia defenders with their top two picks, before grabbing a pair of Central Michigan linemen back to back in the middle of the draft.

First round pick David Pollack was a classic "tweener" who didn’t seem to fit the Bengals’ 4-3 defensive philosophy. Unfortunately, we’ll never know if he would have been a bust, or a productive player. He only lasted sixteen games before a neck injury cut his career short. The Bengals were a few picks too late to grab defenders DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, or Derrick Johnson, and apparently weren’t enamored by Justin Tuck and Trent Cole.

While first round pick Pollack’s early exit from the NFL was totally outside of his control, with a freak injury, second round pick Odell Thurman paved his own early exit from the NFL. He had a very successful first season as the Bengals reached their first playoff appearance in what seemed like forever. But that first season was his only one in the NFL, as substance abuse issues kept him from playing again.

At one point, third round pick Chris Henry was suspended indefinitely from the NFL after a fifth arrest. He faced multiple suspensions before his untimely death, upon falling from a truck during the 2009 season. Henry's autopsy revealed that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

You have to go down to round four to find a Bengals’ draftee, Eric Ghiaciuc, who actually spent more than one season as a starter. But while he was technically a starter, he was far from a quality starter, as his infamous nickname Eric GuySuck indicates.

The best pick from 2005 was seventh round pick Jonathan Fanene, who became a productive rotational backup, spending seven years in the NFL. Will the late round gem Fanene be able to save the 2005 draft class from early elimination, or will the short careers of everybody drafted ahead of him sink the #14 seed?