Worst Cincinnati Bengals draft picks in franchise history

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Cincinnati Bengals
Akili Smith, Cincinnati Bengals -Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport /

Akili Smith, QB (Oregon)

Drafted 3rd overall in1999 

Easily the worst pick the Tiger Stripes ever made and possibly one of the worst draft picks in NFL history is Akili Smith. The quarterback only played 23 college games for the Oregon Ducks during his college career. He threw 45 touchdowns in 23 games.

Clearly, the Bengals thought that Smith could turn their franchise around. Even going so far as to turn down Ditka and his trade offer so the Saints could move up to draft Ricky Williams (who they eventually drafted at five after a blockbuster trade with the Redskins).

Smith’s time in the striped uniform is now infamous. Every “highlight” that appeared on ESPN was him either fumbling or throwing an interception. It might sound hyperbolic but Bengals fans remember. He played four seasons in Cincy totaling five touchdowns and 13 interceptions and 13 fumbles.

The 1999 draft was considered one of the deeper drafts for signal-callers. After Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb were off the board, Smith was the third quarterback taken. The good guys could’ve drafted Daunte Culpepper. Oh, what could’ve been…

Peter Warrick, WR (Florida State)

Drafted 4th overall in 2000 

Every Florida State fan knows Peter Warrick, who was a beast at Florida State and helped lead the team to two BCS national title appearances including a victory in the 1999 season. During that season he had just under 1,000 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.

During his entire college career, he amassed 3,517 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns. Unfortunately, his professional career never lived up to the hype that his college career promised. During his first three seasons in the black and orange Warrick never accumulated more than 667 receiving yards a season.

His fourth season was better, as he totaled 819 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. However, during his fifth season, he suffered an injury and missed most of the season. T.J. Houshmandzadeh replaced Warrick as WR2 and Warrick never made it back to the starting squad.

Before the start of the 2005 NFL season, Warrick was released by Cincy. He was picked up by Seattle but only played one other season. He did sign a deal with the Las Vegas arena football team but was a no-show.