One thing I really enjoy about this current iteration of the Bengals is that it is largely homegrown. With the exceptions of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and most of the defensive backfield, nearly every significant contributor to Cincinnati’s 2012 season was drafted by the team.
With that in mind, I thought it would be informative to take a look at the Bengals draft history year-by-year under Marvin Lewis. We’ll use the familiar letter grades to rate each season’s picks, and see where Marvin (and our ol’ pal Mike Brown) have succeeded, failed, or resembled the Hindenburg.
But first a quick prelude. Dick LeBeau’s three years as head coach were largely a disaster, but the draft picks from 2000-2002 really helped set the stage for the 2005 division title. Justin Smith, Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson, and TJ Houshmandzadeh were all take in 2001 alone, while the Bengals were able to snag Levi Jones with their first round pick in 2002.
Despite building the beginnings of a winning team, Cincinnati was still stinky enough to earn the first overall selection in 2003. That is where our Part I of our journey begins.