3 recent draft picks the Cincinnati Bengals nailed, 3 they whiffed on

Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins
Cincinnati Bengals v Miami Dolphins / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
1 of 3

The NFL Draft can be tough to predict. Sometimes, a player who was drafted highly with major expectations fails to live up to the hype, while an unheralded player with little buzz ends up being a franchise-changer.

No team hits on 100 percent of their selections, that's just the reality of the draft. But, the goal is to identify productive players who pan out far more than the opposite. Teams that are able to do that usually end up finding solid success.

In recent years, the Cincinnati Bengals have been on both sides of the fence, as they've absolutely nailed some important picks, while also missing on some others.

Here's a look at three relatively recent draft picks that the Bengals have nailed, and three that they whiffed on.

Nailed: Joe Burrow, Quarterback -- 1st overall pick in 2020

This one is easy. Joe Burrow has completely turned the Bengals around since the team drafted him in with the first overall pick in 2020. Cincinnati went 2-14 the year before they drafted him, and two years later they were in the Super Bowl. They also made it back to the AFC Championship the following season.

Burrow's combination of size, arm strength, accuracy and mobility makes him one of the best quarterbacks in the entire NFL, and the Bengals are set at the quarterback position for the foreseeable future because of this pick.

A wrist injury limited Burrow to just ten games last season and the Bengals missed the postseason as a result, but as long as Burrow is healthy, he's good enough to keep Cincinnati in the contender conversation annually.

Whiffed: John Ross, Wide receiver -- 9th overall pick in 2017

The Bengals used a top 10 pick on wide receiver John Ross in 2017, and to say that it didn't work out would be an understatement.

Ross appeared in only three games and had zero catches as a rookie, and he was never really able to bounce back from that slow start. He remained in Cincinnati for four seasons, but his play never came close to justifying how highly he was drafted. In all, he had 51 receptions for 733 yards and ten touchdowns in a Bengals uniform. Injuries were a big factor in Ross' inability to make his mark in Cincinnati.

Ross signed with the New York Giants in 2021 and played one season with the team before announcing his retirement from football last year.