A 6-foot-2, 270-pound nose tackle would have an extremely hard time getting noticed by NFL scouts today.
Even in 1983, in the previous generation's iteration of pro football, a player that size had to fight, claw, scratch and do whatever he could to pop up on game tape and get a team to give him a tryout, let alone a spot in its significantly deeper draft class (drafts went 12 rounds back then, as opposed to the current seven).
But that's exactly what happened when the Cincinnati Bengals decided Wisconsin defensive tackle Tim Krumrie belonged in their minicamp. It proved to be one of their better draft decisions. In drafting Krumrie, the Bengals struck late-round gold.
Back in 1983, the Bengals were two years removed from one of their best seasons in franchise history. Still a relatively young organization, they had just been to the Super Bowl and were attempting to put together the pieces necessary to give themselves a long stretch of postseason success.
While Cincinnati's Ohio River Offense, the less-touted precursor to the famed West Coast Offense, had become the focal point of the team in the early 1970s, by the 1980s, its defense was turning heads, too. The mid-'70s Bengals defenses were some of the franchise's best, but the early-'80s units featured a No. 3 rush defense (1982) and a top-ranked total defense (1983).
Although just a rookie, Krumrie played a large role in the 1983 team's defensive success. Making just two starts, he had 53 tackles that season. Three years later, he had 113 tackles. Two years after that, during the Bengals' second Super Bowl season, he had a career-high 152 tackles. Before his career ended in 1994, Krumrie set a franchise record with 1,008 career tackles. It still stands.
Krumrie is most remembered for the devastating lower left leg injury he suffered in Super Bowl XXIII at the end of the 1988 season. But as the tackles record attests, the smaller lineman's impact extends far beyond that moment.
Max Montoya, OG, UCLA: Taken 168th overall in the 1979 draft, Montoya was another late-rounder who flourished for Cincinnati. The four-time Pro Bowler spent 11 seasons with the Bengals, including the two Super Bowl years (1981, 1988), before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Raiders.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Oregon State: A seventh-rounder, Houshmandzadeh was selected 204th overall in 2001. He only played two seasons in college, where he caught nine career touchdown passes. Houshmandzadeh played at Oregon State in tandem with fellow former Bengals wideout Chad Johnson. The Bengals made Johnson their second-round draft pick. The longtime teammates went on to become the most prolific Bengals receivers in franchise history. Houshmandzadeh's 507 career catches trails only Johnson's 751 and Carl Pickens' 530.