Remember that report a couple of days ago that the Cincinnati Bengals were discussing taking a quarterback in the third round before the Pittsburgh Steelers traded out ahead of them and selected Mason Rudolph from Oklahoma State? While the report itself stemmed from Head Coach Marvin Lewis’s own answers from the team’s post-draft press conference, the Cincinnati Enquirer claims that Rudolph was not going to be their selection.
“Lewis didn’t mislead anyone by saying quarterback was discussed on Friday”, the article reads. “Every position is discussed once the draft resumes. But it was more than a stretch to equate his answers with some kind of revelation of the Bengals’ draft board”.
For a refresher, this was his answer to the question of whether or not the fact that they were interested in a quarterback was the reason the Steelers traded up three picks to take Rudolph:
I don’t know. They must have our room bugged (laughs). But I feel great about the guys we have in this building. We went out and signed a quarterback (Matt Barkley) this offseason that we had a lot of regard for when he came out in the draft. Once he was in the league, we had a lot of regard for him, and we had him in here last fall. We had regard for him, and Bill (Lazor) has coached him before. We have regard for Jeff Driskel, and unfortunately he broke his hand last year and didn’t get a chance right at the point where you would have hoped he could be in a different spot right now. So, basically he had to take a redshirt, and unfortunately he gets hurt again. I feel good about adding Logan (Woodside) to the room because it brings in another good, young guy that can go in there and compete, and let’s see what happens at the end of the mix.
Cincinnati lost its backup quarterback this offseason in AJ McCarron. The team anticipated that he would be a restricted free agent because he spent his rookie season in the Non-Football Injury list, but he won his arbitration case and was able to win unrestricted free agency, ending up signing with the Buffalo Bills.
The Bengals responded by signing Matt Barkley, whom as Jackson mentioned their new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has coached before. Lazor entered the 2017 season as their quarterbacks coach but took over as offensive coordinator after two games and rewrote the team’s playbook this offseason.
They ended up drafting defensive end Sam Hubbard with the next pick. They also selected Jessie Bates III and Malik Jefferson within the second and third rounds, all three of them players I was very interested in for Pittsburgh. They always manage to find players I want for the Steelers, though admittedly they don’t always pan out.
There’s a pretty big caveat here, though. The Steelers moved up three spots, trading back with the Seahawks. The Bengals owned both of the spots in between. Maybe they wouldn’t have taken Rudolph at 77. But what about 78? They used that on Malik Jefferson.