Anthony Munoz -- 1980 (No. 3)
The best draft pick in Bengals history is conveniently their greatest player in Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, considered the finest left tackle ever. But when they took him with the third pick in the 1980 draft out of USC, Munoz was considered one of the greatest gambles of all time because his knee problems limited him to playing only in the Rose Bowl his senior season. Legend has it that he dominated his foe so much that day that the Bengals' scouting party of general manager Paul Brown, assistant general manager Mike Brown and director player of personnel Pete Brown could only sit back and laugh. The Bengals had the last one. By the time he retired in 1992, Munoz had gone to 11 straight Pro Bowls, at the time an NFL record.
» 1980 NFL Draft | Photos: Munoz through the years
Ken Anderson -- 1971 (No. 67)
When the Bengals plucked quarterback Ken Anderson in the third round of the 1971 draft, they ended up putting tiny Division III Augustana College and Rock Island, Ill., on the map. Called the most important player in franchise history by Bengals president Mike Brown, Anderson was named NFL MVP in 1981 during a 16-year career many believe belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He won four NFL passing titles and is the only eligible quarterback with at least three not in Canton. When he retired as the Bengals' all-time leading passer, he was also the NFL's all-time completion percentage leader and also held the NFL records for completion percentage in a game and a season.
» 1971 NFL Draft
Cris Collinsworth -- 1981 (No. 37)
Legend has it the Bengals literally took a double take when they mulled taking Florida wide receiver Cris Collinsworth with the 10th pick in the first round of the 1981 draft. Judging Collinsworth to be too slight after looking at his photos, the Bengals opted for Kansas wide receiver David Verser. When Collinsworth was still there at No. 37 in the second round, the Bengals grabbed him. Collinsworth showed enough beef in an astounding rookie year that he became the Bengals' first 1,000-yard receiver on his way to making the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons. When he retired after eight seasons he was the club's all-time leading receiver, passing the legendary Isaac Curtis by one ball. Verser? He played four seasons with the Bengals and caught 23 passes and three TDs.
» 1981 NFL Draft
T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- 2001 (No. 204)
When the Bengals reached the seventh round in the 2001 NFL Draft and the 204th pick drew closer, Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski made a quick phone call to his old boss from his University of Miami days, Oregon State coach Dennis Erickson. Bratkowski already liked wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but he just needed some confirmation. Erickson, who also endorsed the Bengals' pick of Houshmandzadeh's more celebrated running mate earlier in the day in the second round, Chad Johnson, also passed muster on Houshmandzadeh. While Johnson became the team's all-time leading receiver, Houshmandzadeh went on to become the third with 507 catches in eight seasons. He shared the NFL receptions title with New England's Wes Welker in 2007 with 112 and joined with Johnson in 2006 to form the Bengals' first 1,000-yard tandem in club history.
» » 2001 NFL Draft
Tim Krumrie -- 1983 (No. 276)
Tim Krumrie went from Wisconsin and the 10th round of the 1983 draft to cult figure as he became one of the most popular players in club history. A big-time wrestler, his tenacity, toughness, and stunning sideline-to-sideline production at nose tackle anchored defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's 3-4 defense that help net three postseason wins from 1988-90. Krumrie led the team in tackles in five of his 12 seasons and he made the Pro Bowl in 1988 and 1989 while playing the fourth most games in team history with 188.
» 1983 NFL Draft
Akili Smith -- 1999 (No. 3)
The third pick in the draft also gave the Bengals their worst pick ever. It's not all Akili Smith's fault, but when the Bengals took the one-year wonder out of Oregon they thought he was the answer. But a rookie holdout, rookie receivers in his second season, and a lack of accuracy and decisiveness in an unfamiliar offense doomed him. He was 3-14 as a starter, had just five TDs and appeared in three games his last two seasons before getting cut after four seasons. He never appeared in the NFL again.
» 1999 NFL Draft
Ricky Hunley -- 1984 (No. 7)
The Bengals' first of three first-round picks in 1984, Arizona linebacker Ricky Hunley at No. 7, never played a snap for them. He held out of his rookie training camp and then got traded early that season to Denver. He went on to play seven seasons and make 30 starts in his career and nearly 20 years later he made up with Cincinnati. Head coach Marvin Lewis hired Hunley as his linebackers coach when he arrived in 2003 and Hunley stayed for five seasons.
» 1984 NFL Draft
Ki-Jana Carter -- 1995 (No. 1)
It's tough to call Penn State running back Ki-Jana Carter one of their worst picks because of his devastating series of injuries. But he's got to be on the hard-luck list. The Bengals hadn't had a 100-yard running game since the next-to-last game of the 1992 season when they made a stunning trade on draft day in 1995, moving up from No. 5 in a trade with the Carolina Panthers to take Carter at No. 1. Carter got that 100-yard game, but not until the third game of the 1997 season. He tore his ACL on the third carry of his career in his rookie preseason before suffering season-ending injuries in September of 1998 and 1999, limiting him to a total of four games. He played just 35 games in Cincy of his NFL total of 59 and had just that one 100-yard game.
» 1995 NFL Draft
Travis Dorsch -- 2002 (No. 109)
The Bengals could never really figure out if Purdue's Travis Dorsch was a kicker or punter, but they took him in the fourth round in 2002. Dorsch, a brilliant college performer who became the only player in Big Ten history to earn all-conference honors as a kicker and punter, was diligent and dedicated but he didn't play until late in the season in Carolina. Two of his five punts were returned for TDs in what turned out to be his only NFL game.
» 2002 NFL Draft
Jack Thompson -- 1979 (No. 3)
The Bengals took Washington State quarterback Jack Thompson with the third pick of the 1979 draft with the idea that he would replace Ken Anderson as their franchise quarterback. But Anderson, 30, wouldn't go softly into the night. Before he was traded to Tampa before the 1983 season, Thompson went 1-4 as a starter in 1979 and 1980 and played in eight games backing up Anderson in 1981 during the run to the AFC title.
» 1979 NFL Draft