Remembering Bengals’ back-to-back No. 1 picks

Editor’s Note: This is a weekly column from former sports reporter and editor Mike Bass. Bass will be contributing to The Enquirer by offering advice for sports fans, athletes and youth sports parents and coaches through a weekly Q&A. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @SportsFanCoach1.

For @doug_c_67, the greatest Bengals Draft Day memory involves a trade the team did make.

“Although it didn't turn out good in the long run, the year they traded up for Ki-Jana Carter was the most excited i have been” @doug_c_67 tweeted. “Besides Carson palmer and burrow, but we know those were coming.”

Cincinnati Bengals running back Ki-Jana Carter sits on the bench with his left knee iced after getting injured on his third carry of the game against the Detroit Lions during his NFL debut Thursday, Aug. 17, 1995, in Pontiac, Mich.

In 1995, the Bengals traded up to No. 1 for a sort-of do-over. With the No. 1 overall pick in 1994, they chose a defensive tackle (Dan “Big Daddy” Wilkinson) who would underachieve instead of a running back (Marshall Faulk) who would reach Canton. This time, they drafted the marquee running back. Carter was going to be a sensation on the field and Nike’s next superstar off it.

This was fun. At the time.

This is what Draft Day can be. A catalyst for months of joy.

Until …

Carter became another Bengals Legend That Wasn’t because of injury. At least quarterback Greg Cook had a few games in 1968 before tearing his rotator cuff and somehow finishing a Rookie of the Year season. Carter blew out his knee in his first preseason game.

Part 1: Bengals fans share draft jeers, cheers and tears.

Neither was ever the same.

@Gibby398gmailc1: “Big Daddy Dan Wilkerson..& Kijana Carter.. Both were Hugh BUST….”

@CoachKnox17: “Worst: Akili Smith vs. all the Saints picks aside, taking Dan Wilkinson over Marshall Faulk was horrible. Best: 2011 Rounds 1-2: AJ Green and Andy Dalton's selections. It meant that they were going to turn the corner quickly after the Carson Palmer debacle...and they did.”

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback David Klingler stretches at the start of practice Thursday Nov. 10 1994 in Cincinnati. Klingler who hasn't been activated since injuring his right knee three weeks ago in Cleveland may be available as a backup for this Sunday's game with Houston.

Green became one of the NFL’s best wide receivers, Dalton became a fairly productive quarterback, and the Bengals reached the playoffs the next five years. A relatively good run in Bengal Land, but the same old one-and-dones in the playoffs.

@PChrisBrantley: “Favorite draft memory was probably AJ Green because I followed him from HS to UGA to Cincy. Worst memory was drafting Chris Perry. I really wanted Steven Jackson they could’ve had him but they traded back.”

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