The Bengals are 2019 NFL Draft Wild Cards

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away. Cincinnati is still one of the toughest teams to pinpoint in terms of direction.

We are now close enough to the NFL Draft that it is not difficult to figure out what many teams are thinking in terms of the early part of the draft. However, some teams remain a mystery. The Bengals are a mystery team this year.

Their entire draft will be shaped by two questions. The answers won’t be known until the draft begins, but here are the questions.

Does Zac Taylor have any real power?

Ever since Mike Brown took over the team from his father in 1991, he has not only been owner, but also general manager. This gives him final say over roster composition and the draft. That isn’t going to change as long as he is alive. However, whether or not new first time head coach Zac Taylor gets his guys or is forced to make it work with whatever he is given will have a huge impact on the franchise going forward. Taylor needs to have a meaningful say in the war room. Brown trusted Marvin Lewis a great deal after a year or two. This led to some fantastic drafts in the Lewis era.

Any Fire to the Quarterback Smoke?

Contrary to what a vocal minority of the Bengals fan base would say, the Bengals do not need a high profile quarterback early in this draft. Andy Dalton himself and his supporting cast were not healthy at the same time very much at all in 2018. The former TCU Horned Frog still managed to toss 21 touchdown passes in just 11 games.

Still, given Dalton’s lack of playoff success, age, and contract situation, it is impossible to completely rule out Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins, or some other quarterback with the 11th overall pick. Taylor has said Dalton is his guy and he looks forward to working with him, but the chatter won’t go away.

ESPN’s Todd McShay has Mizzouri’s Lock going to Cincinnati at 11 in his latest mock draft. Guys like McShay are right no more often than the rest of us. However, they have almost unlimited sources and access to information. That prediction is there for a reason. As far as helping the 2019 Bengals, linebacker or offensive lineman makes lots more sense in the first round, but quarterback is clearly on the radar at least. Obviously, that would change the rest of Cincinnati’s draft approach as well.

Want to read more about Cincinnati’s offseason? Be sure to check out all of our Bengals coverage on Stripe Hype!

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