The Cincinnati Bengals are almost certainly committed to starting Andy Dalton for at least one more seasons, but there are plenty of questions regarding his ability to be “the guy” at quarterback for the Bengals. Dalton was a disaster in the playoffs last year, and some believe he is what’s holding a deep, talented Bengals roster from bigger things in the playoffs. When Dalton is on, he can play at a high level, but he’s an inconsistent quarterback who fits the definition of “mercurial” when it comes to his play on the field. He seems too anxious at times but too complacent in other instances, and it’s difficult to sense what he’ll do in any given game.
Although they aren’t expected to take a quarterback in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, some believe that the Bengals are in the mix to draft a QB in the late first round if someone like Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr is available for them. Bridgewater could very well be available there, so it will be interesting to see if the Bengals are that worried about Dalton to take a QB in the first instead of adding an impact player (CB looks like the position they will try to fill, and I think Jason Verrett would be an excellent pick for them.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported yesterday that the Chiefs are a darkhorse team to take a quarterback in the first round with Carr as one of their options, and he reported this morning that the Bengals are a sleeper team to draft a quarterback in the first round of this year’s draft. Thus, it’s important to watch the Bengals closely, and Mort reports that they could view Bridgewater as a “fallback option” for Dalton. So if Bridgewater is still there at 24 and the Bengals aren’t sold on Dalton, then watch closely for a potentially big move on draft day.
Bridgewater looks like a better quarterback than Dalton, so drafting him would immediately create a quarterback controversy. I still expect the Bengals to stick with Dalton for one more year in 2014 before finally making a call on him, but I think the quarterback they take will be somebody like Aaron Murray after the first. If they take a quarterback in the first round, though, then that basically states they don’t view Dalton as a franchise passer.