2011 NFL Draft, Quarterback Edition: The Cincinnati Bengals and Andy Dalton

Pete WilliamsCorrespondent IApril 12, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 6: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs throws a pass against the Utah Utes during the second half of an NCAA Football game November 6, 2010 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. TCU Beat Utah 47-7.  (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

Here's why Andy Dalton should be the target for the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round:

The Past

The Cincinnati Bengals was widely expected to have a great 2010 season building upon the successful 2009 campaign. With the signing of Terrell Owens, the team was getting raves about how deadly an offense they would have with Carson Palmer throwing to TOchocinco and the two rookies Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley.

Instead, the Bengals ended up as an offensive mess, abandoning their power running game and Palmer pressing throws to the diva duo.

Something must have gone terribly wrong in that locker room, since Palmer could go from happy like a kid at Christmas to demanding a trade or threatening to hanging up his cleats.

The defense was ravaged by injuries, but with a little luck and re-signing the key players, they will be a solid unit again. 

The Present

It seems like a done deal that Palmer is on his way out of Cincinnati—one way or another, and with him, probably also his brother.

That leaves the Bengals with waiver-signing Dan LeFevour as their only QB on the roster. And although I really liked LeFevour coming out of college, there is no signs that he will be the starting QB for the Bengals in 2012.

Jon Gruden is moving in with his West Coast offense (WCO) and if the Bengals need to find themselves a new QB, now could be a perfect time. Of the first- and second-round QBs, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton seems to be the best fits for the WCO. 

I can understand that Gabbert would be an intriguing prospect for the Bengals and Gruden with the fourth pick. However, I think that if the Bengals could land A.J. Green or Von Miller with the fourth pick, or trade down for Julio Jones or Nick Fairley in the top 10 would make a lot of sense.

With a top pick in the second round they would be in a good spot to pick up either Ponder or Andy Dalton. 

Dalton has been shooting up draft boards as teams gets intrigued with his accuracy, cleverness, leadership, experience and, not least, his ability to perform and win when it matters.

Dalton is not a high-lying, me-first prospect, but a hard worker who loves the game. I think Dalton could start from day one and have a Colt McCoy-like impact with the Bengals.

I actually think the Panthers are in a position to play it pretty cool because if they miss out of any of the top three WCO QBs they would still have the option of going after players like Pat Devlin or Tyrod Taylor whom I think would be intriguing prospects to compete with LeFevour for the future starting job—while the Bengals bring in a veteran stop gap QB like Donovan McNabb or Matt Hasselbeck—for one or two seasons.

The Future

Paring Dalton with A.J. Green or Julio Jones, Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson, Shipley and Gresham would give the Bengals a talented passing game to build the WCO around.

Dalton will have a solid O-line to protect him and if Benson is re-signed, a power runner to get the job done in a tight spot.

Ochocinco is, of course, traded out of town along with Palmer, who will be a hot commodity once the CBA is in place.

Then the Bengals will be able to move forward with a new offensive coordinator and a talented young receiving core and with a little luck a young, smart signal caller that knows how to win games.

The Background

My previous articles about the need for young QBs:

NFL Draft 2011: Quarterbacks, What Teams Are the Perfect Fit

NFL Quarterback Gold Rush 2.0: To Draft or Not To Draft, That Is the Question

2011 NFL Quarterback Gold Rush: Panic Is Spreading Across the NFL


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