Cincinnati Bengals All-Time Passing Leaders – No. 12: Akili Smith (2,212)
Bengals Quarterback from 1999-2002
Akili Smith is a name that every Bengals fan knows but it’s not for a good reason. After a tremendous season at Oregon, the Bengals took Smith with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, making him the third straight quarterback taken, as Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb went before him.
Smith was definitely a gamble, as he’d only had one successful season with the Ducks. The Bengals ignored the warning signs, however, and made him their No. 3 overall pick and the result was a disastrous one. Smith played only 22 games through four years while making 17 starts. Quarterback records aren’t always noted but a 3-14 record for a No. 3 draft choice is atrocious.
After four years at the helm, Smith threw for just 2,212 yards, five touchdown passes, and 13 interceptions and unsurprisingly is considered one of the biggest draft busts of all time. The Bengals obviously expected more from Smith but ended up benching him in 2000 due to poor play. He rode the bench for his final two years in Cincinnati.
Smith was so bad that he couldn’t even crack the Bengals’ top 10 passing yards list despite being with the organization for four seasons. Yikes.