Worst Cincinnati Bengals draft picks in franchise history

John Ross (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
John Ross (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals have long been associated with failings from the front office. Accusations of ownership being cheap and not interested in winning.

With this attitude, the Bengals have whiffed on many draft picks. To be fair, the Bengals have nailed many draft picks but this list isn’t about the good, only the bad.

Let’s take a look at the worst of the worst. We’ll go in order from the earliest picks to the more recent picks.

Billy Brooks, WR (Oklahoma)

Drafted 11th overall in 1976 

Billy Brooks was a standout wide receiver and looked to make a statement in the NFL. He was quite a large target at 6’3” and 202 pounds. He should’ve been a solid pass catcher in the black and orange.

Unfortunately, his career never really took off. He only played four seasons in Cincinnati and during that time amassed 1,683 yards and seven touchdowns. His bright spot was his sophomore season with 772 yards and four touchdowns being added to his resumé.

Brooks regressed after the 1977 season and played for two other teams before being completely out of the league by 1981. The 1976 draft class wasn’t one for the ages. Archie Griffin almost landed in this spot as the Bengals’ 24th pick.

Brooks edges Griffin out only because higher expectations fell onto his shoulders. Larry Gordon was a player Cincy could’ve gotten. Instead, the Dolphins snagged him with the 17th pick. He was a solid linebacker for the Dolphins.