NOTE: Beginning April 12, Local12.com is taking a daily look at the Bengals draft history from the good to the bad and the ugly, and then starting April 19 will begin a daily position-by-position analysis for the team heading into this year's draft, culminating with a final full seven-round Mock Draft on April 28.
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - In 2017 ESPN.com released the top first-round bust for each NFL team and made quarterback Akili Smith the top first-round bust in Bengals history, but while he was really bad he actually isn't the biggest first-round bust in team history.
And, no it isn't John Ross, Cedric Ogbuehi or Billy Price either. They actually had some level of productivity, which doesn't say much for those who actually made this list.
Here is a ranking of the top five worst first-round picks in Bengals history (and five others to consider):
5. TE Mike Cobb (1977, No. 22 overall)
The Skinny: Cobb certainly looked the part of standout tight end at 6-feet-5, 244 pounds, but he never caught a pass in his one season with the team and was traded to the Chicago Bears prior to the 1978 season for a fourth-round pick in the 1979 draft. He finished his career with just 11 receptions in five seasons, the final four with Chicago. It wasn't like he came out of a great passing offense in college as he had just 32 receptions in four seasons at Michigan State.
4. WR David Verser (1981, No. 10 overall)
The Skinny: The Bengals thought the speedster from Kansas would be a great weapon opposite Isaac Curtis, but it turned out the wide receiver the team selected in the second round was instead, and what was Cris Collinsworth, who wound up with 67 receptions for 1,009 yards and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl. Verser wound up with 23 receptions for 454 yards ... for his career, which came to an end with the Bengals in 1984. He did serve as the team's main kickoff returner in 1981 and averaged 23.8 yards per return.
3. QB David Klingler (1992, No. 6 overall)
The Skinny: He was tabbed to be the guy to replace Boomer Esiason and snap the Bengals out of a funk that began with a playoff loss at the Los Angeles Raiders that concluded the 1990 season. Instead, Klingler was a disaster, going just 4-20 in 24 starts in 1992, 1993 and 1994. He completed only 54.6 percent of his passes and threw just 16 touchdowns passes and 22 interceptions. His passer rating was a woeful 65.1. In his defense his top wide receivers were an aging Tim McGee, an unproven Carl Pickens and in 1993 Jeff Query was the team's leading receiver. It also didn't help that the offensive line was wretched, which led to Klingler being sacked 82 times in 28 games he played.
2. QB Akili Smith (1999, No. 3 overall)
The Skinny: With Tim Couch going No. 1 and Donovan McNabb No. 2 in 1999 the Bengals opted to grab a quarterback as well in Smith, and it didn't work out well at all. He couldn't read defenses, was an inaccurate passer and had no leadership ability either. His career consisted of 22 games, 17 of which were starts, from 1999-2002, and he went just 3-14. He completed an incredibly poor 46.6 percent of his 461 career pass attempts with only five touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a rating of 52.8. He could run a little - he did rush for 371 yards in his 22 games - but he was also sacked 59 times.
1. DL Pete Koch (1984, No. 16 overall)
The Skinny: He made just six total tackles as a rookie and was so bad he was released prior to his second season. It's obvious the Bengals didn't waste much time deciding on whether or not Koch could play. He did wind up playing 42 games with Kansas City and Oakland over the next four seasons, including starting all 16 games for the Chiefs in 1986 at defensive end. He eventually moved into a career as an actor.
5 more to consider (in order):
6. QB Jack Thompson (1979, No. 3 overall)
7. OT Cedric Ogbuehi (2015, first round)
8. LB/DE Reinard Wilson (1997, No. 14 overall)
9. DE Glen Collins (1982, No. 26 overall)
10 (tie). DE Jason Buck (1987, No. 17 overall) and DL Dan Wilkinson (1994, No. 1 overall)
Note: Linebacker Ricky Hunley was not considered as he held out after being drafted No. 7 overall in 1984 and was eventually traded to Denver for three future draft picks, two of whom turned out to be wide receiver Tim McGee and safety David Fulcher, who both had good careers, so something good did come out of drafting Hunley.
Note No. 2: RB Ki-Jana Carter, LB David Pollack and RB Chris Perry were not considered due to careers being cut short due to injuries.
BENGALS DRAFT HISTORY STORY SCHEDULE