There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks of the Bengals' dire need to take a quarterback in the draft, as "Carson Palmer Watch" continues to develop in embarrassing fashion for Cincinnati.
What is striking is that draft "gurus" continue to overlook some prospects that the Bengals should, and most definitely will, consider.
As a Bengals fan that sees a lot of holes that need filling in their roster, the idea of gambling on a QB at No. 4 scares the hell out of me, which is why I'm struggling to understand why few TV/online pundits are talking up the possibility of the Bengals taking someone like Andy Dalton.
The TCU quarterback has been pegged as a third- or fourth-round pick, and I, for one, would be more than happy for the Bengals to take him there, to the point of which that I believe that is an absolute steal. There has also been talk of him sneaking into the second round.
Dalton is often criticized for being a Mountain West QB, thriving against weak teams, while others say this is irrelevant and that Dalton is underrated. Dalton is a four-year starter, more importantly, he's a winner. He has more wins under his belt than any other QB on the board with a total of 29 as starter.
He is also said to have sound character (something the Bengals should relish) and a good football brain.
He's 6'2" and 213, which worries some, but it goes without question that if he was asked to bulk up, he would. He will definitely have a long time to do it if there's no 2011 season.
As it stands, he has an average arm and good accuracy within 15 yards, but there is definitely room for improvement.
Concerns have also centered around him playing mainly out of the shotgun. He dabbled in play-action and dropped from center occasionally, but he's very much a product of the spread-style offense, and he's been in it so long that he may struggle to escape it.
The Bengals new OC Jay Gruden travelled to TCU's recent pro-day to view Dalton's workout and had this to say:
"You want winners, and that's what he's done his whole career," Gruden said. "There's a lot more to that than people understand. Teammates have to follow you, and believe in you, when times are tough. In key situations, you have to deliver. He's done it time and time again. How can you not be interested in a guy who performs like that?"
NFL Network's Gil Brandt said that of the 50 balls Dalton threw, none were uncatchable, and Adam Caplan of Fox Sports mentioned how "on one throw, he rolled out right and completed a 60-yard pass on the run," which is important when questions of Dalton's arm strength have been rife.
The Rose Bowl offensive MVP is due to visit with the Bengals soon, with the possibility of a workout coming through that. Provided that the Bengals hold off on pulling the trigger on a QB with the No. 4 pick, it's not unrealistic to suggest that they could take Andy Dalton.
Either way, he shouldn't be written off just yet. With a pick like Dalton potentially in the third round, the Bengals would be able to address greater needs with their early round picks, whilst getting great value for pick on Dalton further down the road.