Revisiting the Bengals’ only supplemental draft pick
By Glenn Adams
The news came down last week that there will be no supplemental draft this year. Now is an opportunity to remind you that the Cincinnati Bengals had one of the best supplemental picks in NFL history.
In 2006, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Ahmad Brooks in the third round of the supplemental draft.
The talented linebacker declared for the alternate draft after being dismissed from the Virginia squad. The dismissal came after the draft but before the start of Brooks’ senior year.
Brooks was considered a first-round talent, but off-field issues plagued the star linebacker. A scouting report from ESPN’s Scouts Inc. had this to say about Brooks:
"Brooks reminds me in many ways of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, as he possesses a similarly rare combination of size, speed and athletic ability. Brooks has the potential to play inside or outside linebacker in the NFL and can also be effective when turned loose off the edge on obvious passing downs. Unfortunately, Brooks has some major “red flags” as a pro prospect, including character, work ethic and durability. In our opinion, Brooks is too risky to consider in the first round but too talented to pass up in the third round."
Hopes for Brooks were extremely high in 2006. The Bengals’ starting linebacker, Odell Thurman, was suspended in 2006 for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
More pressure was heaped upon Brooks when star linebacker David Pollack suffered a career-ending injury in the second game of the season.
Unfortunately, Brooks’ time in the Queen City was uneventful. In his two years with the Bengals, he only played in 13 games. He got off to a great start in 2007, but an injury caused him to miss 14 games. The Bengals released him in 2008.
Then, Brooks’ career took a turn for the better. The 49ers claimed the linebacker off of waivers. He would go on to play for eight years in San Francisco.
Brooks is one of only seven supplemental picks to make the Pro Bowl. He did so in 2013. The other six include Bernie Kosar (QB), Cris Carter (WR), Rob Moore (WR), Mike Wahle (OL), Jamal Williams (DT), and Josh Gordon (WR).
Brooks was also a vital part of the 49ers team that made it to Super Bowl 47 against the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2017, Brooks signed with the Green Bay Packers. He did not play again after that season.
Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports recently gave his list of the top five supplemental draft picks. And while Brooks did not make the top five, you can make an argument that he is the sixth or seventh best supplemental pick ever.
The top five, Carter, Williams, Moore, and Kosar are indisputable. Five to seven is a bit more fluid. That debate depends on where you would slot Mike Wahle (OL), Josh Gordon (WR), and Brooks.
No matter where you rank Brooks, he is in excellent company regarding supplemental draft picks.