Worst Cincinnati Bengals draft picks in franchise history

John Ross (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
John Ross (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
7 of 7
John Ross
Cincinnati Bengals, John Ross (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

John Ross, WR (Washington)

Drafted 9th overall in 2017 

Two years removed from the teams’ five-year span of playoff losses the Bengals were beginning to slip back into obscurity. If they had not already, fans were losing faith in Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton. Though they still had plenty of talent, something wasn’t clicking.

To try to spark something on offense the Bengals selected speedster John Ross with the ninth overall pick. However, Ross never really amounted to much in his injury-plagued tenure as a striped player. After Marvin Lewis parted ways with Cincy, Ross still never took off.

He did have a 500-yard receiving season in 2019 with three touchdowns but much more is expected from a first-round selection, especially a top 10 pick. As our own Leigh Oleszczak points out:

"Had the Bengals not managed to land Joe Burrow a few years later, this pick would have looked a lot worse, as Ross went one pick ahead of MVP-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who went No. 10 overall to the Chiefs."

This is probably why Ross isn’t mentioned as a bigger draft bust, but if selecting him meant the Bengals missed out on Patrick Mahomes and then missed on Burrow three years later, Ross would be much more infamous in the Queen City.

Billy Price, C (Ohio State)

Drafted 21st overall in 2018

Over the last two seasons, Joe Burrow has been one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league. A big reason for that is a bad offensive line. Before Burrow’s woes, Cincinnati selected Billy Price with the 21st overall pick in the 2018 draft.

Price, unfortunately, just didn’t work out as he only started 19 games during his three seasons in the black and orange stripes. He was a star center at Ohio State and seemed to be a logical pick to protect Andy Dalton and their new investment when they moved on from the Red Rifle.

As stated before, unfortunately, Price never developed. He missed six games in the 2018 season due to injury and never recovered. The difference between Price and KI-Jana Carter though is that Carter had promise. Price looked like a mistake from the beginning.

Not only did Price’s playing time regress but he seemed to regress as a player. Instead of the Bengals taking a hit in season four, they traded him to the Giants for B.J. Hill in the 2020 offseason; a move that worked in Cincy’s favor.

6 Most Disappointing Trades in Franchise History. light. Must Read

Which of these picks was the worst in your opinion?