The Cincinnati Bengals did their due diligence in bringing in Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. It looks like it was just for a smokescreen.
The Cincinnati Bengals brought in Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson for a pre-draft top 30 visit last week. The spotting in Cincinnati has many Bengals fans in hopes of landing a young quarterback in the first round of the 2018 draft. Unfortunately, this seems to be mostly smokescreen and even if Jackson is there at 21, the Bengals won’t take him.
Even with ESPN’s Todd McShay coming out and saying that the Bengals are one of the teams in the hunt for the Louisville product, I don’t see Cincinnati pulling the trigger. Most likely Jackson will be long gone by the time the Bengals make their selection but the case is being made if he is there at 21. Nothing about selecting Jackson would make sense for what we have seen and heard from the organization this offseason.
Everyone from the front office and coaching staff has talked about their win now slogan instead of rebuilding process all offseason. They feel that they have the roster to make a run this year at the playoffs and there is definitely talent on the roster for this argument. With a couple additions and some schematic changes, this team could look much better in 2018.
Cincinnati needs a player that will be able to start and make an impact in week one. Jackson will likely need a year or two to develop with his new team and coaching staff before making a real run at the playoffs. Drafting him would be taking the selection in the first round and using it for 2019 or 2020 which is exactly what the team has said they are not doing. Everything is about 2018 for this organization.
In a season where head coach Marvin Lewis must get back to the playoffs, he is not going to draft a quarterback in the first round. While it might give competition to quarterback Andy Dalton for the first time in his NFL career, it might also stir up the locker room. Not to mention the fact that Dalton and Jackson are completely different styles of quarterbacks.
I’m not convinced that Dalton is the guy to get the Bengals to the promised land but drafting a quarterback in the first round today goes against everything we have heard from the team this offseason. Finding a player that can help keep Dalton upright in the pocket is the number one priority. Having healthy playmakers and more aggressive play calling from offensive coordinator Bill Lazor are other factors in Dalton getting back to his 2015 play.
So why would Cincinnati bring Jackson in for a visit? There are a few reasons why and the first is doing their due diligence on a player. They could also be trying to get another look at a player that might be the future quarterback for a team inside the division. The Baltimore Ravens are a team that has been considered in the hunt for Jackson as well with mediocre play from quarterback Joe Flacco since their Super Bowl win.
Finding out everything you can about a quarterback that might go inside your own division is a smart move if that is the case for the Bengals. They also could be considering the fact that if Jackson is still there at 21, bringing him in for a visit and looking like they are interested would up the price if anyone wanted to trade up for Jackson. Both of these scenarios would make a lot of sense. Cincinnati has already traded back in the first round and if they could get the player they want a couple more picks later in return getting more picks, I wouldn’t put it past them.
I know there is a great deal of Bengals fans that are ready to move on from Dalton following these last two seasons but it won’t be this year. I don’t think that Lewis will be the coach to move on from Dalton for mediocre play. There is plenty around Dalton that has gone wrong the last couple of years and he can still get the team back to the playoffs in 2018 with certain factors in place. Expect not to see a quarterback to the Bengals until day three.