The Bengals should draft a quarterback this April. In fact, they should select a quarterback every April. I’m not saying they should draft Deshawn Watson or Deshone Kizer, but I’m not saying they shouldn’t either.
Most Bengals fans are going to laugh at the headline. Heck, you’re probably one of them. Quarterback is the most important position in sports. A great one can single handedly change the direction of a franchise.
Andy Dalton is a good quarterback. He’s a solid starter. That doesn’t mean the Bengals shouldn’t look to upgrade. Getting a top-tier quarterback is the quickest way to contend. Every NFL organization should be on the lookout for one. Dalton is good, but he can’t carry the Bengals to a championship.
Atlanta, New England, Green Bay and Pittsburgh made it to championship weekend this year. Why? All four teams have great quarterbacks. Dalton has shown the ability to compete at the highest level when he has a great compliment of weapons and a top offensive coordinator. It’s not realistic to expect the Bengals to give that to him every year. Cincinnati might’ve had the best roster in football in 2015. Of course Dalton was on pace to put up the best numbers of his career.
Some believe the Bengals would struggle to find a quarterback in the draft who's better than Dalton. For every Russell Wilson, there are 20 draft busts. The next Tom Brady might not be born yet.
Drafting a quarterback this April makes a ton of sense. They’ll likely move on from A.J. McCarron this offseason. That would leave Jeff Driskel on the roster as the backup. Why not evaluate the quarterback position like they do every other position? If there’s one available that has a high ceiling, why not take the risk?
The Patriots have Brady, who is arguably the greatest quarterback that ever lived. They didn’t hesitate to draft Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round. You think the Bengals should pass on a great quarterback because of Dalton?
You’re probably whispering to yourself about how “bad” this quarterback class is. The prospects might be a step down when comparing them to other drafts. Most people said last year’s quarterback class was subpar. Dak Prescott came out of nowhere and was dominant as a rookie. Carson Wentz looks the part.
The Bengals can upgrade at all sorts of positions in the draft. Defensive end, linebacker and wide receiver seem to be the top three positions that analysts are focused on. I want quarterback to be on that list. The Bengals should interview Kizer and Watson. I want them to hold personal workouts with Mitch Trubisky, Pat Mahomes and anyone else they think has potential to be a starter in the NFL.
I think Kizer will succeed at the NFL level. He makes plays from the pocket, even when pressure forces him to move around. If the Bengals selected him (or any quarterback they feel is worth it) with the ninth pick, it would shock a lot of people, including me. But, it would mean the Bengals are doing everything they can to get better. Upgrading at quarterback is the best way to do that in today’s NFL.
It makes sense for the Bengals to build around Dalton. He should be the starter next season barring something unexpected. That doesn’t mean they should turn their head if they see someone who has the potential to be better than Dalton.
I don’t want the Bengals to settle at quarterback. The same way I don’t want them to settle at wide receiver, running back or any other position. They shouldn't shy away from making a move that’ll help the team, even if it’s at quarterback.
For more on the Bengals and why they should consider drafting a quarterback, listen to the Locked on Bengals podcast below.