CINCINNATI -- As long as he's playing football, Carlos Dunlap will remember April 22 and 23, 2010.
Those were the nights the defensive end got passed up and looked over; at least until the Cincinnati Bengals finally drafted him 22 picks into the second round.
"After the first round, I was very frustrated," Dunlap said Monday when asked to think back on his draft experience. "That's what I reflected on my rookie year. I wanted to make 31 other teams pay for passing up on me."
Some draft analysts and scouts would say that had it not been for a December 2009 arrest for driving under the influence that Dunlap might have been drafted sooner. Instead, his draft stock fell.
Dunlap knew that issue might cause some teams to balk, but he contended then that the issue was behind him and that it wouldn't happen again. So far, it hasn't.
That's why as the first 53 picks were read in the 2010 draft, Dunlap kept a mental list. He was watching the selections of all the defensive ends and certain defensive tackles before him believing that it should have been his name that got called instead of theirs.
"I'm not going to call out the names," Dunlap said. "It was a good bit of guys."
He might not rattle off the list of names, but we will.
Drafted on defensive lines ahead of Dunlap that weekend were: Ndamukong Suh (No. 2, Detroit), Gerald McCoy (No. 3, Tampa Bay), Tyson Alualu (No. 10, Jacksonville), Brandon Graham (No. 13, Philadelphia), Jason Pierre-Paul (No. 15, New York Giants), Derrick Morgan (No. 16, Tennessee), Dan Williams (No. 26, Arizona), Jared Odrick (No. 28, Miami), Jerry Hughes (No. 31, Indianapolis), Brian Price (No. 35, Tampa Bay), Torell Troup (No. 41, Buffalo), Lamarr Houston (No. 44, Oakland), Linval Joseph (No. 46, Giants) and Jason Worilds (No. 52, Pittsburgh).
Even though he wouldn't admit it, it was perhaps specifically the selections of ends like Pierre-Paul, Morgan, Odrick and Houston that bugged Dunlap the most. Those are the players who best match Dunlap's rush-end style of play. Aside from Pierre-Paul and Suh, one could easily make a case that Dunlap has had more impact for his team than any of the other defensive linemen picked before him. In four seasons he has 27.5 career sacks, including 9.5 his rookie season. He tied for the Bengals lead with 7.5 sacks last year.
"I still feel a grudge toward those teams," Dunlap said. "Especially if they drafted a D-lineman in front of me."
Asked if he pays special attention to those teams when he plays them, Dunlap said no, but admitted that he did want to out-work the player who might have taken his spot on that team's roster.
"I definitely try to out-do the guy that they drafted," Dunlap said. "That's just how you continue to compete and continue to get better. Don't get comfortable. Right now, I like my odds. I'm just going to keep working and build on that."
One of the aforementioned first-round ends will face the Bengals this year. Morgan and the Titans travel to Cincinnati on Sept. 21.