Buzz about the Bengals taking a quarterback with the 11th overall draft pick is only increasing. A case can be made for pulling that trigger as well as Cincinnati focusing elsewhere early in the draft. Here are both cases.
Why it Makes Sense:
Andy Dalton has been good for the Bengals since starting as a rookie in 2011, but that is it. A 67-50-2 career record as a starter and career passer rating in the 80s is nothing to scoff at. Those numbers have allowed the Bengals to reach the playoffs fairly often.
However, a franchise playoff victory drought of nearly 30 years remains. Cincinnati has not reached the playoffs since the 2015 season. Also, the Bengals do not have big money tied to Dalton for the remainder of his contract.
New head coach Zac Taylor cut his NFL teeth as a quarterbacks coach. He has done nothing but sing Dalton’s praises since being hired. Still, new head coaches frequently want their handpicked “guy” at the most important position in football. This would figure to be especially true for a former quarterbacks coach.
It isn’t hard to see a guy with Taylor’s background falling in love with the athletic ability of a guy like Dwayne Haskins for example, and deciding that he can get the franchise over the hump that Dalton has not yet.
Why it Does Not Make Sense
Simply put, there are quarterbacks a lot worse than Dalton whose jobs are safe heading into 2019. The Bengals offensive line and linebackers were among the worst in football last year. Those two needs and possibly more are far more dire than the quarterback situation.
Cincinnati’s linebackers contributed to the last ranked defense in 2018. Additionally, the team was forced to sign offensive linemen off the street by late November thanks to injuries and poor play. Only minor tweaks were made to these position groups in free agency. The draft is the only remaining option to quickly add impact talent. Either Devin White, Devin Bush or Jonah Williams among others would fit the bill if they are still on the board at 11.
A Happy Medium
Given the lack of good things Jeff Driskel put on tape last year, the Bengals would be wise to get another quarterback in the building, but they need other things more. Thus, addressing the needs in the previous paragraph, then taking a quarterback in the mid rounds who has no expectation of starting right away would be a low risk high reward draft plan the Bengals need to consider.
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