CINCINNATI -- The first round of the NFL draft has become quite a spectacle. Every team’s fans get excited about the hot prospect from a big school coming to bolster the franchise.
But in the latter rounds of what has now become a three-day, made-for-TV mini-series, only the most hardcore draft addicts will spend a spring Saturday afternoon seeing whom their teams will select.
But history shows us that the late rounds sometimes produce the best players. The most notable being New England’s Tom Brady, a sixth-rounder taken after such legendary quarterbacks as Giovanni Carmazzi and Spergon Wynn. Who? Exactly.
The Bengals are no exception to finding late-round gems. Sure, we all remember those first-rounders who didn’t pan out -- David Klingler, Ki-Jana Carter, Akili Smith -- but looking back over the team’s history, there have been plenty of finds late in the draft.
Here are nine late-draft steals the Bengals have selected, in chronological order. They are all draft picks, not undrafted free agents, and make the list based on career accomplishments, statistics and/or longevity. Their time on teams other than the Bengals is also considered. They were all taken in the fifth round or later.
Bob Trumpy -- tight end -- pick 301, 1968; Utah
It’s hard to find better value in any Bengals’ draft pick than Trumpy, who was picked in the 12th round of the team’s inaugural draft. What they got was a four-time Pro Bowl player who was a first team All-Pro in 1969, his second season.
Trumpy’s numbers aren’t like those of today’s “matchup nightmare” tight ends who are treated more like wideouts, but they’re still quite strong. Especially considering he started when seasons were just 14 games.
The 6 foot 6 Trumpy, who gained additional fame as host on Sports Talk for many years on 700 WLW, still holds the team records for receiving yards by a tight end (4,600) and touchdowns by a tight end (35). Pretty impressive for a guy who was picked five rounds after a current draft would end.
Ken Riley -- cornerback -- pick 135, 1969; Florida A&M
Riley spent his entire 15-year career as a Bengal and remains one of the all-time faces of the organization.
“The Rattler” went from being a sixth-rounder to snagging 65 interceptions in his career -- a Bengals franchise record and No. 5 in NFL history. His five interceptions for touchdowns is also a Bengals record.
Riley never made a Pro Bowl despite having five seasons with five or more interceptions, including nine in 1976. He was named first team All-Pro in 1983, his final season.
Lemar Parrish -- cornerback -- pick 163, 1970; Lincoln (MO)
Parrish was a major steal as a seventh-rounder and along with Riley gave the Bengals one of the NFL's best cornerback tandems in the 1970s. He wasted no time becoming a star with five interceptions as a rookie and a Pro Bowl berth. He made six Pro Bowls overall for the Bengals in his eight seasons with the team.
Parrish wasn’t finished after his time in Cincinnati. He was traded to Washington, along with defensive lineman Coy Bacon, for a first-round pick before the 1978 season. According to CincyJungle.com, Parrish lobbied to be traded after feeling he was underpaid.
He played four seasons with the Redskins, making two more Pro Bowls, and was named first team All-Pro in 1979 thanks to nine interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He finished his career with 47 interceptions -- 25 with the Bengals, which is good for fifth in franchise history.
Pat McInally -- punter -- pick 120, 1975; Harvard
McInally is known for some pretty interesting reasons other than punting. The Harvard graduate is the only player to have a perfect score on the Wonderlic test, a tool used to measure intelligence of NFL prospects. He also created Starting Lineup sports action figures for Kenner toys.
The McInally highlight many fans remember most was when he was nearly decapitated by Browns safety Thom Darden -- as a wide receiver. Yes, McInally was a rare punter who also lined up at receiver.
But he was first and foremost a very good punter. Most notably in 1981 when he led the league in yards per punt, made the Pro Bowl and was named first team All-Pro. He probably would have been more decorated had he not played in same era and conference as Oakland’s Ray Guy, a first-rounder who’s the only punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Statistically, current Bengals punter Kevin Huber might be worthy of this list given that he was a fifth rounder in 2009, but McInally’s versatility and uniqueness give him the nod.
Louis Breeden -- cornerback -- pick 187, 1977; North Carolina Central
Breeden was a seventh-rounder who proved to be a reliable starter. He played 10 seasons for the Bengals and was a starter on the 1981 team that went to the team’s first Super Bowl. His highlight that season was a 102-yard interception return for touchdown, which at the time tied for longest in NFL history (it’s now tied for fifth-longest).
His biggest accolade came the following year, being named first team All-Pro in the strike-shortened 1982 season.
Breeden finished with 33 career interceptions, the second most in Bengals history.
Breeden made himself one of the standouts in a Bengals draft class that included much more highly touted players like defensive linemen Eddie Edwards and Wilson Whitley in the first round and running back Pete Johnson in the second.
Max Montoya -- guard -- pick 168, 1979; UCLA
A year before Anthony Munoz arrived to become the Bengals’ all-time greatest player, the team made a shrewd sixth-round pick to nab Montoya, who would prove to be a strong running mate for Munoz.
Montoya teamed with Munoz to anchor the left side of the line that was one of the NFL's best throughout the 1980s -- leading the Bengals to the team’s only two Super Bowls. Montoya started getting his due in the latter years of his time in Cincinnati, making three Pro Bowls in the final four of his 11 seasons here. He added one more with the Raiders.
NFL MVP quarterbacks Ken Anderson and Boomer Esiason owe a lot to Montoya and the other offensive linemen who played for the Bengals in the ‘80s.
Tim Krumrie -- defensive tackle -- pick 276, 1983; Wisconsin
A 10th-rounder typically doesn’t produce this type of career.
Krumrie was a high-energy guy who didn’t follow the mold of fat, space-hogging interior lineman. A nimble 6 foot 2, 280 pounds, he was a tackling machine, racking up 1008 solo tackles in his 12-year career. To put in perspective how staggering that number is, it’s the franchise record by 500 more than the next closest Bengal.
Krumrie made two Pro Bowls and was first team All-Pro in 1988 when he accumulated a gaudy 152 solo tackles, three sacks and three fumble recoveries.
What many might remember of Krumrie was that he suffered maybe the most gruesome injury in Super Bowl history when he snapped his leg in Super Bowl XXIII. Although he played for six more seasons after that, one has to wonder if his presence throughout that game could have made a difference in the outcome.
Joe Walter -- offensive tackle -- pick 181, 1985; Texas Tech
It’s hard to quantify an offensive lineman by statistics, but there’s no questioning Walter as a stalwart at right tackle for the Bengals for 12 seasons.
He started all 16 games in the team’s 1988 Super Bowl season. As right tackle, the 6 foot 7 Walter protected left-handed quarterback Boomer Esiason’s blind side. Esiason was named the NFL’s most valuable player in that 1988 season.
Walter, along with Montoya and Munoz, helped plow paths for the one-two running back combination of James Brooks and Ickey Woods in that memorable season.
But Walter also was a bright spot during some lean years in the early-to-mid-‘90s. He still helped running backs like Harold Green and Garrison Hearst to big rushing seasons. The Bengals got a lot of value from this seventh-round pick.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh – wide receiver – pick 204, 2001; Oregon State
Here’s a name more recent Bengals fans know. In kind of a buy one, get one deal from Oregon State, the Bengals snagged Houshmandzadeh in the seventh round after getting fellow Beaver Chad Johnson in the second. The two became quite a package deal -- Johnson the speedy, athletic playmaker and T.J. the sure-handed, route-running possession guy.
Houshmanzadeh became a favorite of quarterback Carson Palmer after a quiet first few seasons. In 2006, he broke out with 90 catches for 1,081 yards and nine touchdowns. It was the first of three consecutive 90-plus-catch seasons -- the pinnacle being a league-leading 112 receptions for 1,143 yards and 12 TDs in 2007. He made his lone Pro Bowl that season and the 112 catches stands as the Bengals’ single-season record.
Houshmandzadeh rounded out his career with stints in Seattle, Baltimore and Oakland after eight seasons in Cincinnati. His 507 catches are third all time in Bengals history.
Dave Niinemets is a Digital Enterprise Editor at WCPO.com and oversees sports content for the digital team.