The 1994 draft was the first one of the modern era with a seven round draft, compensatory free agents, and the current. Since drafts before this period operated in a different league model, we are looking at every draft since 1994, which gives us over two decades of history to mine for interesting draft trends for the Bengals.
The Bengals baffled more than a few followers of the 2015 NFL draft by making their top two selections prospects from the same position. The Bengals made Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi their first pick, and followed that up with Oregon offensive tackle Jake Fisher as their second selection.
Have the Bengals ever done this before – begun a draft by double dipping at the same position?
Interestingly, the answer is, yes, they have done it more than once.
In 1998 the Bengals selected linebackers Takeo Spikes and Brian Simmons with their first two picks; both of these picks were in the first round.
Spikes turned out to be a great player, logging 219 career games over a 15 year career. He spent his first five seasons in Cincinnati, where he played his most seasons, and accumulated his highest sack and tackle totals. He had 566 total tackles and 14.5 sacks while with the Bengals. He ultimately played for the Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and finally the San Diego Chargers. He reached two Pro Bowls, and was named first team All Pro in 2004.
Simmons also had a very productive career, playing 10 seasons in the NFL, with the first nine of those as a Bengal. He started 115 games for Cincinnati, tallying 741 total tackles and 24 sacks.
In 2005 the Bengals again started the draft with linebackers as their first two selections. They chose David Pollack and Odell Thurman, who not only both played linebacker, but hailed from the same school. This 2005 mention is debatable, because Pollack was more of an edge rushing tweener of a linebacker, and less of a traditional linebacker, like Thurman.
Unlike the duo of Spikes and Simmons, this second duo did not have such accomplished careers. Pollack secured 4.5 sacks in 16 games before a neck injury prematurely ended his career in his second season. Thurman had a great rookie campaign, hauling in five interceptions, forcing five fumbles, and totaling 98 tackles. Unfortunately substance abuse violations kept him from playing the following season, and thereafter.
They haven't done it too frequently, but the Bengals have double-dipped in the NFL draft with their first two picks going to players at the same position three times since 1994. Could it happen again in 2016 after just occurring in 2015? We'll have to wait and see.