2002 NFL Draft: Levi Jones, OT (Arizona State)
With the 10th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, Cincinnati selected Levi Jones out of Arizona State. Jones played left tackle for the Bengals during his seven-year stint in Cincinnati but became not-so-popular during the end of his tenure due to his constant complaints about the organization.
Jones did play well early on in his career and rarely missed games during that time. That landed him a hefty six-year deal worth $40 million that he failed to live up to. Once he started to battle injuries and the complaining began, however, it was easier to move on from him. He was let go following the 2008 season and spent one year in Washington before the end of his career came.
2003 NFL Draft: Carson Palmer, QB (USC)
The Bengals were the worst team in the league in 2002 and that led to them landing the top pick in the 2003 NFL Draft and the rights to draft USC's Carson Palmer. Bengals fans have a lot of mixed feelings on Palmer due to how his time in Cincinnati ended and some comments he's made in recent years but he did play well for the team.
Palmer finished his Bengals tenure with 22,694 passing yards,154 touchdowns, and 100 interceptions. His best seasons were in 2005 and 2006 when he tossed for 3,836 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions and 4,035 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions respectively.
Palmer demanded a trade following the 2010 season and eventually, the Bengals obliged and sent him to Oakland. Things didn't go great for him there but he found success with the Cardinals, where he closed out the final five years of his career. He put together his best season ever in 2015 with 4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns, and 11 picks.