There is no shortage of Cincinnati Bengals fans who hope the team comes away from the 2014 NFL Draft with a new quarterback. People disenchanted with Andy Dalton are a dime a dozen, and it’s common to see discussion on which future NFL’er would be the best fit in Cincinnati. The question, naturally, is whether or not the Bengals are even interested in replacing Dalton. There are legitimate questions about the the franchise’s loyalty to the quarterback that has taken them to three straight postseasons, including the fact that they are still negotiating with him on a long-term extension.
Most scenarios would have the Bengals either having to trade up for a new signal caller, or having to take whichever one of the big four falls in the draft, most likely Derek Carr. However, at least one person thinks that even if one of the top quarterbacks fall to them, the Bengals would pass. Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com participated in a mock draft with other members of the media, and when the 24th pick came around, Teddy Bridgwater was available, but wasn’t the selection. Instead, Hobson picked Kony Ealy, the defensive end from Missouri.
Kony/Coney puns aside, Hobson makes a fine case for Ealy as the pick, noting that the former Tiger is big, versatile, and a potential every-down player. Ealy is a terrific prospect who certainly would be at home in Cincinnati’s defensive line rotation. However, could the Bengals pass on Bridgewater, who is the most NFL-ready quarterback in the entire draft?
Hobson says this: “Bridgewater would be a bargain at 24, but the Bengals can get their backup quarterback later.” He also says it’s doubful the Bengals will take a quarterback in round one unless the negotiations with Dalton have broken down. There is still plenty of time until the draft, and things could change, but passing on Bridgewater could be the kind of move that haunts the team for years, depending on how things work out. If Dalton becomes what coaches have said he can be, then fans will forget. If Dalton continues to struggle, and Bridgewater becomes the player he has the potential to be, fans will never let Mike Brown forget it.