USA Today surprisingly does not consider Akili Smith biggest Bengals draft bust

Akili Smith #11...
Akili Smith #11... / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Draft season means that it's time to dust off the history books and take a look back at your team's great and not-so-great draft picks. The Cincinnati Bengals have a long list of draft busts and three former players who heard their name called by the stripes in the first round appeared on Nate Davis of USA Today's list of draft busts.

Surprisingly, the highest-ranked one on here wasn't Akili Smith but rather Jack Thompson. Davis put Thompson at 18th on his list (there were 50 entries in total).

"The "Throwin' Samoan" never threw very effectively in six seasons. Furthermore, Cincinnati was just fine under center with Ken Anderson, who would lead the Bengals to their first Super Bowl two years later. Also, Phil Simms was chosen four slots after Thompson – or, if Cincy needed, like, a developmental quarterback, they could have had, uh, Joe Montana in Round 3 ..."

Nate Davis

Thompson might get forgotten about by newer fans because he was drafted third overall in 1979 but he was bad and certainly deserves to be on this list. Davis throws salt in the wound by mentioning that Joe Montana went in the third round in this particular draft.

Which other former Bengals made the list of draft busts?

Smith did find his way onto Davis' rankings, coming in at 34, which seems generous for the former third overall pick. Maybe the Bengals should avoid landing the third overall pick in the future.

"Just abject in four seasons (3-14 record, 5 TD passes, 13 INTs). The next four players taken were Edgerrin James, Ricky Williams, Torry Holt and Champ Bailey. No. 12 selection Cade McNown, Chicago's QB failure that year, looked all-world relative to Smith."

Nate Davis

Again, Davis really rubs it in by mentioning who went off the board after the Bengals took Smith. This pick is even worse when you consider that the Bengals turned down Mike Ditka's trade that would have netted them all of the Saints' draft picks for that year. Oof.

When most people are asked who they consider to be the Bengals' biggest draft bust, they usually answer with Smith and it's not surprising why they feel that way. He had just five touchdown passes in four seasons and was not worthy of a first-round pick at all. Not only is he a massive Bengals draft bust but he's an all-time bad pick throughout the entire NFL.

Lastly, Ki-Jana Carter came in at number 44. Some fans don't like seeing Carter listed on things like this because he tore up his knee. Do injuries make you a draft bust? In Davis' opinion, yes, it does.

"In fairness, he ripped up his knee in his first preseason game and was never the same. Of note, it could have been much worse for Cincinnati. Expansion Carolina only charged the Bengals the fifth and 36th overall picks to move up for Carter, sweetheart terms by today's standards. Yet it worked out OK for the Panthers, who took QB Kerry Collins."

Nate Davis

Cincinnati moved up to the first overall pick and that's what makes this selection so much more painful. That being said, Carter tends to get let off the hook more because injuries are what led to his downfall, not his performance on the field.

Next. Worst Draft Picks in Bengals History. dark

Do you agree with these three players being listed as draft busts? What order would you put them in?