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A Walk Down Memory Lane

Posted by Matt on April 17, 2007

“Charlie Hustle’s” recent article regarding the Bengals gave a clear reason as to the source of the undeniable ‘Bengals Curse’: Personnel. Thus, I decided to take a walk down memory lane and recount some of the Bengals’ more stellar draft picks from an organization that has the smallest scouting team in the NFL.

Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson (DT – Ohio State University – Round 1 Pick 1 — 1994): For a first round pick, “Big Daddy” spent four lackluster years with the Bengals, never recording double digit sacks and never totaling more than 37 solo tackles. Fairly sad for a defensive tackle that was taken first overall. “Big Daddy” is now with his fourth team, the Miami Dolphins, and was actually traded to the Denver Broncos in early-march for a sixth round draft pick. This would have been Dan’s fifth team, but the trade was vetoed after 28 days of waiting as “Big Daddy” never showed up in Denver to take his physical. This piss poor work ethic sums up “Big Daddy’s” legacy in the NFL. Wilkinson totaled 14 tackles, 0 sacks, and 1 forced fumble in 10 games last season. After being a consensus All-American in college, “Big Daddy” will never surpass the 400 solo tackle mark in the NFL, no matter how long he plays.

  • Could have had: Marshall Faulk, RB — Trent Dilfer, QB — Willie McGinest, OLB — Sam Adams, DT — Isaac Bruce, WR

Peter Warrick (WR – Florida State University – Round 1 Pick 4 — 2000): Warrick was a two-time consensus All-American and was dubbed “The Great One” while in college. He was seemingly a triple-threat at wide receiver, with kick and punt return abilities as well as rushing through trick plays. The guy seemingly could not get tackled while at Florida State and, despite his legal troubles, looked like an exciting first round pick. Now I really like Peter Warrick, but he just never panned out for Cincinnati. Warrick only tallied 2991 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in six seasons. He never developed in to the multi-threat talent either, only totaling 346 rushing yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in his Rookie season. In early 2007, Warrick signed with the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League (AFL) but failed to report in the first week and was black listed accordingly. It is possible that he is now working for the Dillard’s Department store in Florida where he and Laveranues Coles stole from so many years ago while in college.

  • Could have had: Jamal Lews, RB — Thomas Jones, RB — Plaxico Burress, WR — Brian Urlacher, MLB — Chad Pennington, QB — Shaun Alexander, RB — Keith Bulluck, OLB

Ki-Jana Carter (RB – Penn State University – Round 1 Pick 1 — 1995): I remember like it was yesterday…1995 pre-season, Bengals have this new running back that is going to “SAVE THE FRANCHISE!” First play from scrimmage, a run, it was time to see what this guy is all about, and about all he was worth was getting back to the line of scrimmage before taking a shot to the knee that ended his season and ended any glimmer of hope Bengals’ fans might have had. A blown knee was the diagnosis and the “Bengals’ Curse” had struck again. Carter has never been the same since and it is tough to tell if he ever would have amounted to anything had he not been injured; but there is no changing the past and his 1127 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons pales in comparison to his 2829 rushing yards and 38 touchdowns in nearly a third of the time while in college. Carter was most recently listed as a reserve running back for the New Orleans Saints in the past couple of years but is reportedly said to be out of the league for good as of right now.

  • Could have had: Steve McNair, QB — Kerry Collins, QB — Joey Galloway, WR — Warren Sapp, DT — Ty Law, CB — Derrick Brooks, OLB

Akili “No Show” Smith (QB – University of Oregon – Round 1 Pick 3 – 1999): Akili Smith’s selection is a perfect picture of the piss-poor management of the Bengals in the 1990s. The New Orleans Saints wanted the third pick from the Bengals to assure themselves of getting Ricky Williams, an offer that went as high as nine draft picks for the third position. The Bengals declined the offer and still took Akili Smith. Most felt he was largely unproven, having only started 11 games in college. Well, as they say, the rest is history and Akili Smith failed to reach his one-season collegiate touchdown total of 32 in the NFL, finishing his career with 5 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 2212 yards of passing. Since leaving Cincinnati at the end of the 2002 season, Smith has bounced from Green Bay then to Tampa Bay, being cut at both places. Currently, Smith is with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League jockeying for a quarterback position. Smith had 2 passing touchdowns in 7 games during his Rookie campaign, SO WHY DO YOU START HIM EVER AGAIN? I do not know why, but they did, and in 11 appearances in 2000, Smith one-upped his 1999 total with 3 passing touchdowns. THREE. Akili Smith is still the brunt of many of my Father’s jokes to this day, as he is going to kick that dead horse forever. According to my Dad, Akili was hired for the head basketball coach’s position at the University of Kentucky after Orlando “Tubby” Smith left a month ago — I had the voicemail saved for two weeks.

  • Could have had: Edgerrin James, RB — Ricky Williams, RB — Tory Holt, WR — Champ Bailey, CB — Chris McAlister, CB — Daunte Culpepper, QB — Jevon Kearse, DE — Mike Peterson, MLB

David Klingler (QB – University of Houston – Round 1 Pick 6 — 1992): And last but not least, my personal pick for “Biggest Bust,” and the ass end of many a joke over the years, University of Houston product, David Klingler. Klingler narrowly missed winning The Heisman trophy his Junior season, finishing third behind Ty Detmer and “Rocket” Ismail, while amassing 54 total touchdowns during the season (an NCAA single-season record at the time), including 11 in one game against Eastern Washington University, as well as 91 total touchdowns for his career on 9,430 yards of passing. Eleven touchdowns, in which he obtained in ONE GAME, is more than any of his six “professional” season totals, and just 5 shy of his career total of 16. Pathetic. Klingler threw for 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions with a completion percentage below 55% and only 3994 yards while in the NFL. I can’t remember how many times, while growing up, that I heard my Dad say, “Klingler! Where in the HELL are you throwing it?” as the football hit the ground five yards in front of the receiver. Currently, Klingler is attending the Dallas Theological Seminary working on his Ph.D. in Theology. It is a good thing that he found Jesus because he had a hard time finding the endzone in the NFL.

  • Could have had: Troy Vincent, FS — Chester McGlockton, DT — Alonzo Spellman, DE — Jimmy Smith, WR — Darren Woodson, SS

Honorable Mention: Coaches

Bruce Coslet: I realize that Coslet is not a draft pick, but there is no denying the self-proclaimed “offensive genius” appearance on this list. When Coslet took over seven games in to the 1996 season, he went on to finish 7-2. The only time with the Bengals that Coslet ended the season with a winning record. Everyone was drinking “Bruce Juice” and the Jungle was rocking again. The 1997 season brought out the true colors of Bruce Coslet, however, as the Bengals were 3-8 after eleven games. Enter Boomer Esiason. The Bengals started Esiason for the remaining 5 games to allow him to finish his career as a Bengal. Boomer went 4-1 with 13 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. Starting Boomer the last five games of Boomer’s final season was Coslet’s second greatest coaching move in Cincinnati, behind only his resignation during the 2000 season. My lasting memory of Coslet, aside from his pop-bottle spectacles, is Coslet trying to tell a disgruntled Corey Dillon to get back on the field as Dillon is marching off in disgust. According to my Dad, Coslet can be seen playing a banjo underneath the stands at Paul Brown Stadium for change during Bengals’ games.

Dave Shula: This is the simplest case of riding your Daddy’s coat tails to fame and fortune that I have ever seen. Shula started his “coaching” career with the Dolphins, under the elder Shula, during the 1982 season. Jimmy Johnson went on to hire Dave to be his offensive coordinator in Dallas in 1989 and here is where it gets amusing. Two seasons later, Shula is demoted by Johnson from the offensive coordinator position. So where do coordinators go after being demoted by Hall of Fame coaches like Jimmy Johnson? The Bengals of course! The Bengals hired Shula on as an assistant in 1991, just a year after his pathetic and quick demotion. A mere year later, Shula is promoted to head coach. Shula gets a PROMOTION to head coach in Cincinnati after a demotion from a lesser position of offensive coordinator under a Hall of Fame head coach, who may know a thing or two about a thing or two. Listen, I can read that scouting report, it reads: “This coach sucks.” Long story short, Shula coached Cincinnati for four-and-a-half years and compiled a stellar 19-53 record. He now “works” for the family steakhouse business, “Shula’s Steak Houses.” This means he actually does not do a damn thing other than tie his name to his Daddy’s company, which is ironic because that is how he started his coaching career as well. Let us hope that he is a better restaurateur than he was a football coach.

It is easy to tell, at this juncture, as to the reasons behind the Bengals constant failure during the 1990s and early-2000s. We can only hope that Marvin Lewis continues to steer us away from the culture of losing that plagued Cincinnati for so long. I hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane, remembering people we would all probably rather forget.

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One Response to “A Walk Down Memory Lane”

  1. Brandon "Packin 9" Baker said

    A lot of sad sad years we went through b/c of terrible draft picks. Atleast one hasn’t been a bust and never will be…our boy Carson! =)

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