Even after a series of strong draft classes, the Cincinnati Bengals are mostly remembered for their draft busts. But left tackle Anthony Munoz, the No. 3 overall selection in 1980, is proof the Bengals do have a history of bringing quality draft picks into their locker room. Munoz heads a list of players that features a few Super Bowl participants and a current perennial Pro Bowl selection.
Why Munoz is the best draft pick in Bengals history: One reason trumps all others when it comes to Munoz's status as the Bengals' best draft pick: He is the franchise's only Hall of Famer. Yes, there are other former Bengals deserving of busts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but at the moment Munoz stands alone. Munoz is also among a select group who played in both Super Bowls for the Bengals. He was only in his second year when Cincinnati advanced to Super Bowl XVI. Then as an eight-year veteran in 1988, he was the foundation of an offensive line that protected for the No. 1 offense in the league. It was an offense that helped lead the Bengals into Super Bowl XXIII. In his 13 seasons, Munoz was selected to the Pro Bowl 11 times.
Ken Anderson, QB: Perhaps the Bengal most deserving of a spot in Canton with Munoz, Anderson was the quarterback who put the franchise on the map in the early to mid-1970s. Picked 67th overall in 1971, Anderson went on to quarterback the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. He was just three touchdowns short of 200 for his career.
Tim Krumrie, LB: A 10th-round pick in 1983, Krumrie became the heart and soul of an intense Bengals defense that ranked in the top 10 three of the 12 years he was part of it. The nose tackle was arguably the Bengals' best late-round draft selection. His 1,008 tackles are still a Bengals record.
Boomer Esiason, QB: Since we declared his 1984 draft class as the best in Bengals history, we would be remiss if Esiason didn't end up on this list. Like the two players listed before him here, Esiason played a key part in one Bengals Super Bowl run. His 1988 team was just minutes from a championship. Esiason, like the others, is still fondly remembered in Cincinnati.
Ken Riley, CB: Nicknamed "The Rattler" after his alma mater's mascot (the Florida A&M Rattlers), Riley could strike an opposing offense a deadly blow if he ever got in between a receiver and the football. The sixth-round selection of the 1969 draft had at least one interception in each of the 15 seasons he played. Five times he returned them for touchdowns.
A.J. Green, WR: The only active player on this list, it's still safe to consider Green one of the Bengals' best-ever draft picks. The fourth overall selection in 2011, Green has been a Pro Bowl pick each year he's been in the league, and he's on track to obliterate the Bengals' various all-time receiving records. Another active player, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, also probably deserves consideration here.