Welcome to the first Bengals Draft Class Tournament. We have taken the past 16 Bengals' draft classes and seeded them one through 16. The readers of Cincy Jungle will vote for the winner of each matchup, with one draft class advancing and one being eliminated. The tournament will continue until the good 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!
What a difference a year makes. The 2001 draft class enters into our Bengals Draft Class tournament as the top overall seed, while the 2000 group comes in as the lowly 16 seed. Both drafts featured the Bengals sitting with the fourth overall pick, but the results were wildly different.
2001 Draft Class (#1)
The 2001 group comes in as a very top heavy draft class, thanks to the Bengals’ first two picks in the draft. It features two First Team All-Pro selections, with defensive end Justin Smith, and wide receiver Chad Johnson. Between the two of them, they racked up three All-Pro selections, 11 Pro Bowl appearances, and more than 300 games played.
Fourth round pick Rudi Johnson had a productive Bengals’ career, setting marks for the most yards rushing in a season. For three consecutive seasons he was the definition of a workhorse back, reeling off more than 1,300 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns each year.
The Bengals’ last pick in 2001, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, is still the standard bearer of what a great late round pick is. Almost two decades later, he still remains the best seventh round pick by the team since the turn of the century. Like the other three players highlighted in this draft class, he also made a Pro Bowl appearance.
Four picks out of seven became very productive NFL starters. The #1 seed is going to be a difficult team to take down.
2000 Draft Class (#16)
|2000||7||210||Brad St. Louis||TE||2000||2009||0||0||144||0|
The 2000 draft class comes in as the clear underdog in this matchup, and was perhaps the last of the awful drafts which plagued the franchise for the previous decade.
Despite being the first wide receiver drafted, Peter Warrick finished eighth in receiving yards among the 2,000 draftees. He finished over 1,000 yards behind the seventh place receiver, Travis Taylor, and over 5,500 yards behind first place receiver, and fellow Florida State alum, Laveranues Coles.
Not only was Warrick selected ahead of many much better receivers, but he also went ahead of great players including Brian Urlacher, John Abraham, Tom Brady (the ultimate hindsight pick), Shaun Alexander, and Julian Peterson.
In the second round, Mark Roman wasn’t a horrible pick, as he did play 146 games. His six interceptions placed him ninth in that category among all defensive backs drafted after him. He finished well behind Deon Grant (30), Greg Wesley (29), and former All-Pro Bears safety Mike Brown (20).
After monumentally reaching for Warrick with the fourth overall pick, the Bengals attempted to amend their error by selecting a receiver in the third round. Unfortunately it was Ron Dugans, and not Laveranues Coles (8,609 and 49 TDs), or Darrell Jackson (7,132 and 51 TDs), who were both available.
The only player to accomplish anything was Neil Rackers who had one good year in the NFL, but that was three years after leaving Cincinnati.
The #16 seed comes in looking to play the spoiler, but when a seventh round pick long snapper racks up as many games played as three of their top four picks, it's going to be an uphill climb.
You, the reader, get to decide who advances and who is "one and done" in our tournament. Please vote for which of these two draft classes you feel was the better one, and feel free to share your reasoning.