Cincinnati Bengals 2003 Draft – A Look Back

palmer2003.jpgWith the 2008 NFL Draft coming up, I thought it might be fun to look back at all the draft classes in the Marvin Lewis era and grade them, along with some commentary on each player chosen by Cincinnati. First up is the first class Lewis drafted, the 2003 group. Have a look at the analysis below.

1 Carson Palmer QB Southern California 1 – The first pick in the Marvin Lewis era was one of the more obvious choices, still, #1 does not always work out, and we as Bengal fans know that very well. Palmer arguably has been great thus far and has a ceiling that has not yet been reached. Overall this obvious choice was a great one for the franchise.

2 Eric Steinbach G Iowa 33 – Stienbach was one of the anchors of the Bengals line for years and although he left via free agency before the 2007 season, this was a perfect fit. The only issue being that he is gone honestly, and the Bengals instead chose to re-sign aging Willie Anderson rather than get Steinbach. He went to the Pro Bowl last season as a Brown.

3 Kelley Washington WR Tennessee 65 – Washington came out as a fairly higly touted WR from UT. He was drafted to compliment Chad Johnson, who was beginning to emerge at the time. It turned out though, that TJ was the compliment to Chad and Washington not much more than a role player. Last season he was a Patriot and was mostly used on special teams. Not a great pick overall for the Bengals, but still played a role while he was here.

4a Dennis Weathersby CB Oregon St. 98 – Horrible luck does not begin to describe Weathersby. He was projected to be a first or second round pick during the combines, only to be shot weeks before the draft after being mistaken as a gang member. The Bengals probably thought they were getting a steal with this pick getting him in the 4th, but the big “what if” was whether or not he would return healthy or not. He only played 4 games once healthy in his rookie season before he got into a car accident that put him in a coma in April of 2004. He did recover, but has never and will never play football again. The Bengals cut him in 2005.

4b Jeremi Johnson FB Western Kentucky 118 – The Bengals really made a nice choice here in our opinion. Coming from Western Kentucky, he was a bit of a hometown choice and has been one of the more underrated FB in the NFL since he got drafted in our opinion. Johnson has led the way for some great seasons from Rudi Johnson and is still a Bengal constant 5 years later.

5 Khalid Abdullah LB Mars Hill 136 – Spent limited time on the team in 2003, totaling 10 career tackles, Abdullah later went on to play for the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. Nothing to see here.

6 Langston Moore DT South Carolina 174 – Contributed a bit for the Bengals in 2004, with 31 tackles and a sack. They parted ways with him the next season, and he has spent time with Arizona and is currently a Detroit Lion. A career backup.

7a Scott Kooistra T North Carolina St. 215 – Another career backup, but a solid contributor off the bench and is one of only a few still on the Bengals roster from this draft. You would have to say this was a good pick for as late as they got him, and although not a great player, he has exceeded expectations relative to his round and pick. Kooistra was tendered a 3 year deal with the Bengals in 2007 keeping him in Cincinnati through the 2009 season.

7b Elton Patterson DE Central Florida 259 – Not much to say here either. Patterson spent some time with the Bengals in 2004, and with Jacksonville since, but another pick that means nothing.

So how would you grade this draft 5 years later? I would give it a solid B myself, but without the no brainer choice of Palmer, I think it drops off to a C-. The only real quality still on the roster contributing is Johnson, even though they got some good years out of Stienbach. What are your thoughts?