The Bengals have a pretty strong history recently of drafting well. The past few years haven’t gone as planned though.
ESPN recently put together a list of the best and worst draft picks for each team of the past 10 drafts, so why not take a look at them and see if there were any other possibilities.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first with the worst pick, according to Katherine Terrell of ESPN.
LB Keith Rivers. Although Rivers’ career started off well, his rookie season ended after seven games due to a blindside block by Steelers receiver Hines Ward that broke his jaw. Rivers, the No. 9 overall pick in 2008, lasted just three seasons in Cincinnati, missing his final season there because of injury before he was traded to the Giants.
I remember the Rivers selection and being so excited. I also remember Ward’s hit very vividly. There is a reason that those blind side blocks aren’t legal anymore. Rivers just was never the same player, and he was good prior to that.
It is hard to find a draft pick over the past 10 years who was picked as high was as disappointing. The only honorable mentions I can think of include Cedric Ogbuehi and Margus Hunt.
Ogbuehi was supposed to be the heir apparent to Andrew Whitworth at left tackle, but he obviously wasn’t up to the challenge. The team even made a major trade this offseason in order to bring in Cordy Glenn to fill the need at left tackle. Now, Ogbuehi will be competing for the right tackle spot, which is far from a forgone conclusion.
As far as Hunt goes, he was more of a potential-fueled pick. It seemed like he had all this talent waiting to be untapped, but the Bengals were never able to do anything with him. He was the 53rd overall pick in the 2013 draft. When you consider the fact he never really made it to the starting lineup, and a player like Tyrann Mathieu went at pick 69, it really makes that decision a whole lot worse.
WR A.J. Green. The No. 4 overall pick in 2011 has been everything the Bengals wanted and more since they selected him, making it to the Pro Bowl in each season of his career to date. Green ranks No. 2 in franchise history in receptions and receiving yards and is third in receiving touchdowns. He likely will become the franchise leader in all those categories before he retires.
There is really no arguing this. Green is easily the best Bengal of this era. He has been the definition of consistency, and he is widely considered as one of the best at his position.
As far as honorable mentions go, let’s see who were some of the best values. That list includes players like Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, Clint Boling, Marvin Jones Jr. and George Iloka.
Dunlap was the highest player drafted on this list as a second rounder. The rest of these players were drafted after the second round, which really shows the Bengals know how to find those diamonds in the rough come draft day.
I think Atkins has a serious argument against Green though. He was selected in the fourth round at pick 120, and he has become one of the premiere inside rushers in the NFL. It is hard to get more bang for your buck than that.
Who would you say were the Bengals’ best and worst draft picks over the past decade?