Welcome to the first Bengals Draft Class Tournament. We have taken the past 16 Bengals' draft classes and seeded them one through 16. You'll have the chance to vote for the winner of each matchup, with one draft class advancing and one being eliminated. The tournament will continue until the readers of Cincy Jungle have crowned a winner of the best Bengals draft class of the 21st century. Get the bracket and all the details here!
Both the 2004 and 2010 draft classes were filled with a larger than average number of selections in the draft, 11 for the 2004 group, and nine picks in 2010. But the results were not as similar. While the 2004 group brought more players to the Bengals’ roster, the 2010 group brought much better players.
2010 Draft Class (#4)
With multiple Pro Bowlers, the 2010 draft class could make a solid argument that they should be higher than a four seed. But what is a tournament without a little controversy? First round pick Jermaine Gresham was a great blocker and decent tight end who had a few Pro Bowls with the Bengals. He’s best remembered for his ill-timed drops, but was a solid player. Although, with elite tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham being drafted after him, his selection in round one doesn’t seem as great.
Carlos Dunlap has turned into a great pass rusher and run defender. He is arguably one of the top 10 defensive ends in the NFL. Many had Dunlap graded as a round one talent, so to get him in round two is quite a coupe for this draft class.
Geno Atkins is the best 3-technique defensive tackle in the NFL. He can single-handedly make the defensive line better, commanding double teams, yet still generating pressure in the backfield. Consistently he is one of the top pass rushers from the defensive tackle position. Oh, and he was an absolute steal in round four.
The three players listed above easily carry this draft class, which consisted of not much further success. Despite how unproductive the rest of the draft was, the three above-mentioned good picks were so good that they seem poised to carry this draft class deep into the tournament.
2004 Draft Class (#13)
The 2004 draft class is a prime example of how a whole lot of nothing is still nothing. With 11 picks in the draft, the Bengals came away with only a few players that ever panned out to be mediocre starters. In terms of production per pick, this draft class could have been a 15 or 16 seed, but by sheer volume, they avoided such a lowly seeding.
The top of the draft was a total dud, with the Bengals passing on running back Steven Jackson, opting to trade down and grab running back Chris Perry instead. Second round pick Keiwan Ratliff did not fare much better. Although he played twice as many games as Perry, he started sparingly, and contributed little more than as roster depth.
The second defensive back selected by the Bengals, Madieu Williams, fared much better than Ratliff, building a solid nine year career as a decent starter who bounced around the league to four different teams. Another decent starter was the second of two linebackers selected by the Bengals, Landon Johnson.
The most productive player from the draft was Robert Geathers, who was continually re-signed by the Bengals, despite an infuriatingly low number of sacks from the defensive end position. The Bengals cut Geathers after the 2014 season.
The 2004 draft class starts out with a gargantuan task in round one, trying to surpass the draft class that features Atkins, Dunlap, and Gresham. Fans of the 2004 draft class may not be asking if they can win, but if they can keep their loss from being a blowout.