Andy Dalton has had a rather successful NFL career thus far.
The fourth-year quarterback has a 30-18 career record, having led the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons. He has improved statistically in just about every way in each season, culminating in a 4,293-yard and 30-touchdown season last year.
So why would the Bengals want to draft a quarterback?
One reason—"Bad Andy."
Dalton plays well for stretches, but he turns into a pumpkin at rather inopportune times. Most notably, Dalton has thrown just one touchdown and six interceptions in the three playoff games he's lost.
His erratic play has earned the ire of Bengals fans, many of which have expressed a desire for Cincinnati to draft a quarterback sooner or later in the 2014 draft, as shown by ESPN.com's Coley Harvey.
Of course, if head coach Marvin Lewis is to be believed, there is almost no chance this will happen, according to Cincinnati.com's Paul Dehner Jr.:
Marvin Lewis believes in Andy Dalton. And he'd prefer an extension done. Soon.
"We are hopeful we can get a deal done that works and Andy can put it behind him," Lewis said. "He can get back focusing on football. He doesn't have to go into the season and worry about this contract thing, every week someone is going to ask him a question … all those things that come into play later on. Let's get it behind us."
Between clearing of plates and refills of water, Lewis served up his point of view. Dalton lined up with the starting group since the first time he strapped on a Bengals helmet. No. 14 owns 51 consecutive starts since that day. Only four other quarterbacks in history can claim they reached the playoffs their first three seasons.
Defense of Dalton wasn't new. Lewis stood proudly in his quarterback's corner since drafting him in the second round in 2011. The difference in this meal centered around Lewis' urgency to see Dalton receive an extension.
Perhaps Lewis is pushing to sign Dalton to a long-term deal in a bid to avoid overpaying like the Baltimore Ravens had to with quarterback Joe Flacco.
Or, perhaps, is this is all smoke and mirrors to throw us off their trail? In truth, that seems far too dramatic, but the Bengals could still hedge their bets in the second or third round.