NFL Draft successes and busts 10-year evaluation: 3rd overall bust

This weeks, we're evaluating the best and worst top 10 picks in a 10-year span from 1999-2008. We capped this at 2008 because it's unfair to judge first- or second-year players. Today, the pick three bust.

Pick: Three overall
The player:
Akili Smith | Quarterback | Cincinnati Bengals (1999)

Akili Smith isn't the pick here only because he started 17 games in four seasons with the Bengals. It's not even because he could never grasp a playbook. It wasn't the prolonged layout, like many of the busts we've mentioned, that gets Smith here.

Instead, it's what Smith ultimately cost the Bengals. One of the things the 1999 draft is famous for is the ridiculous amount of picks the Saints gave up to get Ricky Williams. New Orleans eventually found a trading partner with Washington, but first came to Cincinnati.

The Bengals liked Smith so much, they turned down every Saints pick that year and a first and third in 2000. The Redskins got Champ Bailey, Jon Jansen and LaVar Arrington because they made the trade. Cincinnati pushed their franchise back further. While the Bengals infamous front office is as much to blame, Smith's poor play didn't help either. The 1999 draft was the team's first of five consecutive appearances picking in the top 10 before getting Carson Palmer first overall in 2003.

 


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