With the selections of safety Daxton Hill, cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt and defensive lineman Zachary Carter, the Cincinnati Bengals went defense, defense and more defense through the first three rounds of a draft for the first time since 1998.
And, with the exception of that 1998 draft, that strategy has treated the Bengals pretty well. Of course, it’s only happened four other times, but let’s take a look back to see how it all worked out.
Cincinnati chose Linebacker Takeo Spikes with the 13th pick in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft, and followed that selection by taking linebacker Brian Simmons at pick No. 13. Defensive back Artrell Hawkins went to the Bengals in the second round.
It didn’t help. Cincinnati finished with a record of 3-13 that year for its eighth straight non-winning season, a trend that would continue until 2005, when the Carson Palmer-led Bengals won the division with a record of 11-5.
In 1987, Cincinnati’s first three picks went to defensive players in Jason Buck (defensive end), Eric Thomas (defensive back) and Len Bell (defensive back). The Bengals had two third-round selections that year, and the second third-round pick also went to a defender in defensive end Skip McClendon. Cincinnati finished 4-11 that year after finishing with a record of 10-6 the year before. The Bengals bounced back to win the AFC North title 1n 1988 with a record of 12-4 before losing to the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII.
Cincinnati drafted Sherman White (defensive end), Tommy Casanova (defensive back) and Jim LeClair (linebacker) with their first three picks of the 1072 NFL Draft. In the fourth round, the Bengals took defensive back Bernard Jackson. Cincinnati went 8-6 that year, and won the Central Division title the following season with a record of 10-4.
The first three selections in 1970 went to Mike Reid (defensive tackle), Ron Carpenter (defensive tackle) and Chip Bennett (linebacker). Cincinnati won the Central Division title that year with a record of 8-6.
If history is any judge, a defense-heavy draft eventually yields some pretty good results. We’ll just have to wait and see how this one works out.