October 21, 2014

NFL Draft Rewind: 2003 Round 1

In the coming weeks leading up to the April 28th NFL Draft, I will be taking a look at past Bengals drafts during the Marvin Lewis era. Today’s look back into the 20-20 hindsight of history is Marvin’s first draft, with the #1 overall pick. In 2003, the Bengals has just fired Dick LeBeau after a club worst 2-14 disaster. Lewis was hired after having served as Defensive Coordinator for the Washington Redskins. The rest, as they say, is history…

Round 1: Carson Palmer, QB, USC. While Palmer has been a goat this offseason, he was once the toast of the town. Looking back to 2003, John Kitna had supplanted 1999 draft bust Akili Smith as quarterback, but he didn’t fare much better in leading the team to a dismal 2-14 season. Palmer was the consensus #1 player in the draft, and the Bengals did everything right by getting him under contract before the pick was made. He sat the first season while the Bengals improved to 8-8, then in 2004 Palmer took over and posted another 8-8 season. In 2005, he set club records for touchdown passes and completion percentage (discounting the strike shortened 1982 season). Palmer followed up 2005 with another Pro Bowl season and back to back 4000 yard passing seasons, including a club record 4131 yards in 2007. Palmer missed most of 2008 due to injury and hasn’t been the same since. After the conclusion of the 2010 season, Palmer demanded to be traded or released, threatening retirement if the club doesn’t meet his demands.

Other options: All of the other quarterbacks from the 2003 draft have been major busts, though undrafted Tony Romo has had a solid career in Dallas. A slew of Pro Bowlers were taken in the first round, including Andre Johnson, Troy Polamalu, Dallas Clark, and Nnamdi Asomugha.