10 best first-round draft picks in Bengals history

2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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9. Takeo Spikes

Takeo made an immediate impact in the Jungle. He lead the team in tackles his rookie season and lead the team in snaps played almost totaling 1,000 snaps. Takeo was a terror on the field but he found more individual success after his time in Cincy.

He didn’t make the Pro Bowl or a first-time all-pro until he was in Buffalo. The funny thing about Takeo is what he is probably most remembered for is not his playing ability. This man has a section on his Wiki dedicated to his neck.

Is there anyone else whose claim to fame is their neck? Probably not. But he is one of only seven linebackers in NFL history to achieve more than 200 starts. He also has the unfortunate luck of playing 219 games and never playing in the postseason. The 49ers, Eagles, and Chargers all made the playoffs the season after he left.

8. Justin Smith

During a dark era for Cincinnati that fans know and remember all too well, the Bengals had the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft. With that top-five pick, they took a defensive end from the University of Missouri named Justin Smith.

Coming out of the gate hot after missing the preseason, Smith set a Bengals rookie record with eight and a half sacks on the season. He finished second overall in sacks by a rookie in 2001. Rightfully so, Smith made the All-Rookie team at the end of the season.

Like others on this list, Smith's personal accolades did not start to pile up until he was done in the black and orange. In 2008 he signed with San Francisco and played for seven seasons before hanging up his gear.

In those seven seasons he amassed five Pro Bowl appearances, named First-Team All-Pro twice, and Second-Team All-Pro three times. Though he didn’t have the same level of success in Cincy as he did in San Francisco, he was still a great first-round draft pick.