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Slip sliding away

Oh, what could have been for Cincinnati on draft days

Posted: Tuesday September 17, 2002 3:36 PM
  Quarterback Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins Dan Marino was the 27th pick of the 1983 draft. T. G. Higgins/Allsport

By B. Duane Cross,

OK, so the NFL draft isn't rocket science. Scout the players. Attend the Combine. Put all the names on a board the morning of the draft. Throw a dart. And ... voila! ... the Cincinnati Bengals have selected ....

Yeah, we're picking on the Bengals because, well, there aren't exactly rocket scientists milling around One Paul Brown Stadium. Just look at their first-round draft history. "Best player on the board?" Forget about it. The Bengals list six people under "Player Personnel," including John Cooper, the team's scouting consultant. Who's he consulting? There isn't a "scout" listed. Not one.

On the other hand, Pittsburgh, generally regarded as having one of the top scouting units, lists six. You do the math.

While parity may have taken hold across the NFL -- 16 of the 32 teams are 1-1 -- someone forgot to send the memo to Cincinnati.

Tossing aside the past five drafts -- we're giving Cincy the benefit of the doubt that Akili Smith (1999), Peter Warrick (2000) and Levi Jones ('01) may someday pan out -- here is a list of notable players who could have been Bengals, regardless of who was already on the roster:

Pick o' the Litter
Players who slipped past the Bengals
Year  No.  Bengals took ...  Pos.  Bengals missed ...  Pos.  No. 
1968  Bill Johnson  Larry Csonka   RB 
1969  Greg Cook  QB  Roger Wehrli  DB  19 
1970  Mike Reid  DT  Jack Reynolds  LB  22 
1971  15  Vernon Holland  OL  Jack Youngblood   DE  20 
1972  Sherman White  DE  Franco Harris   RB  13 
1973  15  Isaac Curtis  WR  Joe Delamielleure  OL  26 
1974  23  Bill Kollar  DT  * Jack Lambert   LB  47 
1975  14  Glenn Cameron  LB  Russ Francis  TE  16 
1976  11  Billy Brooks  WR  Kim Bokamper  DE  19 
1977  Wilson Whitley  DT  A.J. Duhe  DE  13 
1978  Ross Browner  DE  Clay Matthews  LB 12    
1979  Jack Thompson  QB  Phil Simms  QB 
1980  Anthony Munoz  OL          
1981  10  David Verser  WR  Mark May  OL  20 
1982  26  Glenn Collins  DE  * Andre Tippett  LB  41 
1983  25  Dave Rimington  OL  Dan Marino  QB  27 
1984  Ricky Hunley  Wilbur Marshall  LB  11 
1985  13  Eddie Brown  WR  Jerry Rice  WR  16 
1986  11  Joe Kelly  LB  Will Wolford  OL  20 
1987  17  Jason Buck  DE  Mark Ingram  WR  28 
1988  Rickey Dixon  DB  Tim Brown  WR 
1990  12  James Francis  LB  Emmitt Smith  RB  17 
1991  18  Alfred Williams  LB  Ted Washington  DT  25 
1992  David Klingler  QB  Troy Vincent  CB 
1993  John Copeland  DE  Jerome Bettis  RB  10 
1994  Dan Wilkinson  DT  Marshall Faulk  RB 
1995  Ki-Jana Carter  RB  Warren Sapp  DT  12 
1996  10  Willie Anderson  OL  Marvin Harrison  WR  19 
1997  14  Reinard Wilson  DL  Kenny Holmes  DL  18 
* -- Second-round selection.
Bold denotes Pro Football Hall of Fame member.
Note: Munoz, a Hall of Famer, was the best of the 1980 class. Cincinnati did not have a No. 1 pick in 1989; Bengals traded the No. 27 (WR Shawn Collins) selection to Atlanta for the Nos. 35 (RB Eric Ball), 89 (LB Kerry Owens) and 256 (CB Cornell Holloway) picks.