Although the TCU quarterback had the mental capacity and the necessary intangibles to succeed in the NFL, there were questions about his physical ability to do the same.
His arm, some said, was a little on the weak side. There were questions about whether he would be able to keep up with the speed of professional football. Those questions caused him to fall to the second round in the draft, where he was picked up by the Bengals.
A few months later, Carson Palmer refused to come to training camp and the next thing Andy Dalton knew he was starting in the NFL.
As a starter, Dalton has found surprising success. His arm didn’t magically improve overnight, but the Bengals have been able to coach to his strengths while mitigating his weaknesses.
Ten weeks into the season, the Bengals have a surprising 6-3 record, in no small part due to excellent play by their rookie quarterback. He’s thrown for 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions, with a 60.3 percent completion rate. His average quarterback rating is a respectable 82.6.
Looking to this year’s draft prospects, we have to wonder about the fates of other quarterbacks who aren’t named Andrew Luck and who may not be drafted in the top 10. Perhaps they won’t even go in the first round.
Can we expect any of those rookie quarterbacks to find surprising success in their first year of the NFL?
Over the next six slides, we will explore some of the quarterbacks who could, given the right circumstance, prove themselves in the NFL the way Andy Dalton did.