I was about halfway through an entry looking at the Bengals prospects at tight end when the Odell news broke, and I think I’ll table that until later this week. Instead, let’s use the Thurman release to take a look back at the utter futility that was the Bengals’ 2004 and 2005 drafts.
They say it takes at least three years to really judge a draft. Well, the verdict is in, and the final grade for both years has to be considered — at best — an F+.
With Thurman’s release, just two of seven 2005 selections remain on the roster: C Eric Ghiacuic and DL Jonathan Fanene, respectively the team’s fourth and seventh round picks. None of the players drafted in the first three rounds — David Pollack (retired, neck injury), Odell (alcohol) and Chris Henry (repeated acts of idiocy) — survived. Fifth-round T Adam Keift never played a regular-season down for the Bengals, spending all his time on IR before being released. Sixth-round receiver Tab Perry is now a Dolphin after three injury-plagued years in Cincinnati.
But wait! It gets worse! Not only was 2005 a fiasco, so was 2004. The Bengals had 11, count ‘em, 11 picks that year. Of that number, three (3) are still on the roster: RB Chris Perry, DE Robert Geathers and T Stacy Andrews. And of that trio, injuries have limited Perry to just 22 appearance in four years; Geathers got big money in 2007 coming off a 10.5-sack 2006 season, but slid back to just 3.5 sacks in 2007, and; Andrews was hit with the franchise tag (due less to his abilities, which are not inconsiderable, but because of the uncertainty surrounding an aging and injuried Willie Anderson) so he could fly the coop in 2009.
But wait! It gets even worse! Not only were ’04 and ’05 disasters, but 2006 isn’t looking so good, either. It’s still a year shy of that magic three year mark, but of the nine players selected (counting LB Ahmad Brooks, who was taken in the 2006 supplemental draft), three are already gone: LB A.J. Nicholson (5th), WR/QB Reggie McNeal (6th), and WR Bennie Brazell (7th). Two more, Brooks and third-rounder DE Frostee Rucker have, combined, appeared in just 18 games (7 starts) in two seasons — and Brooks is coming off an injury and may not be ready to go in September. Safety Ethan Kilmer, a converted WR, played in all 16 games in 2006, mostly on special teams (although he had a memorable interception against New Orleans when injuries forced him into the lineup) but spent all of last season on IR.
Of all nine picks, only three are clear-cut hits at this point: DB Johnathan Joseph, T Andrew Whitworth, and DT Domata Peko.
Bottom line? Between 2004 and 2005, the Bengals blew 13 of 18 draft picks, a number that could rise to 19 out of 27 if the 2006 class follows suit.