Breaking down the best players to ever be drafted at No. 28
By Eric Bruns
The Cincinnati Bengals have the 28th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The draft is an exciting time for everyone. The players are achieving the dreams they had since being a kid. The fans hope one player could be the key to a Super Bowl.
One thing is certain, there is no guaranteed good player. So many factors go into becoming a great player. Fans, Scouts, and Experts can look at everything and think they know how a player will turn out but no one can be sure.
With that in mind -- who are the best players to ever be taken 28th in the NFL Draft?
The draft has been around since 1936. In 1967, the AFL and NFL had their first merged draft. The modern form of seven rounds began in 1994. The Bengals actually had the first pick in that draft. Pre-Super Bowl era drafts had one Hall of Famer go 28th overall and four total Pro Bowlers go at No. 28.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference
Pre-Super Bowl Era Picks
1950 – Don Colo – Defensive Tackle
The Baltimore Colts drafted Don Colo but he only played one season for them. In 1951 he played one season for the New York Yanks and again was one and done with the Dallas Texans in 1952. It wasn't until 1953 he found success, this time with the Cleveland Browns.
Colo helped win two NFL Championships back-to-back in 1954 and 1955. He was also selected to three Pro Bowls in Cleveland, in 1954, 1955, and 1958. He was chosen as a Cleveland Browns Legend in 2015.
1952 – Bobby Dillon – Safety
Bobby Dillon was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and played eight seasons in the NFL all in Green Bay. In eight seasons he was selected as a first-team All-Pro four times as well as selected to four Pro Bowls. In 2020, after over 50 years of eligibility, Dillon was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Vince Lombardi took over the Packers in 1959 and convinced Dillon not to retire and play more. Unfortunately, he would be injured and fully retire after that season. However, Lombardi said Bobby Dillon was “The Best in the League”. He also accrued 52 interceptions in 94 games.
1959 – Emil Karas – Linebacker
Drafted by the Washington Redskins, Emil Karas only played one season in D.C. He then played for the Chargers for the next seven seasons before retirement. Karas was a three-time AFL All-Star and also helped the Chargers win an AFL Championship in dominating fashion 51-10 over the Boston Patriots.
1965 – Ralph Neely – Offensive Tackle
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Ralph Neely in the NFL Draft of 1965. He accumulated a long list of achievements during his 13 seasons in Dallas. He was selected to two Pro Bowls in 1967 and 1969 and named a four-time All-Pro from 1966-1969.
Neely played in Dallas when the AFL and NFL merged and began the Super Bowl era. During this time he helped Dallas win two Super Bowls (VI, and XIII). He was also named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team. Surprisingly he is not yet in the Cowboys Ring of Honor or the Hall of Fame.