It is par for the course that a number of mock drafts would badly predict what any given team’s line of thinking is heading into the process. Sometimes an entire draft community misreads the league’s pulse on a player, such as when Andrew Billings lasted until the fourth round when many saw him as a first-round possibility.
Many mock drafts continue to predict the Cincinnati Bengals will select a quarterback with the 11th-overall pick. While that remains a possibility—it’s a common occurrence during a regime change, and Cincinnati has pretty much entirely rebuilt its coaching staff—those closest to the team do not get the sense that they are pushing for a quarterback this year.
They still have Andy Dalton under contract for the next two seasons, although his current contract is already beyond the prorated portion of his original signing bonus, which means that there would be no dead money charge if he were traded or released—another reason many believe they may draft a quarterback, given the ease with which they could move on from Dalton.
Following the Bengals beat writers, though, give you a sense that the organization believes Dalton played well last season before he was injured and that they want to see what he will look like in Zac Taylor’s offense first before making a final determination. That is also the sense that Dalton got, as he told the team’s website.
“I still have two years left on my deal”, he noted regarding a possible extension. “I wasn’t expecting it to happen right now. They want me to see me play this year. I expected that going in. I wasn’t thinking about a contract right now. I’m excited about what we’re doing. I expect for us to have a good year and for me to be here a long time”.
He added that while he has seen the mock drafts with the team selection somebody like Dwayne Haskins, “there are a lot of indications that we’ll take other things. I hope we get a player in the first round that can help us win now”.
Of course that’s a common refrain from franchise quarterbacks. Recall Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s remarks after the team selected Mason Rudolph in the third round last year—a year after adding Joshua Dobbs in the fourth, with Landry Jones still under contract.
Dalton has put up some good numbers in certain seasons and made his Pro Bowls. He helped the Bengals reach the playoffs five years in a row to start his career, but they are also riding a three-year drought, all with losing records. They also failed to get past the Wildcard Round in each of their playoff appearances.