Andy Dalton’s early success led many to believe that the Cincinnati Bengals had finally found their franchise quarterback. He’s showed a competitive side that former quarterback Carson Palmer didn’t seem to have. Dalton proved he could take this team to the playoffs and has done so in his first two seasons in the NFL.
However, Andy Dalton needs to show improvement in his third campaign. He’s lacked pocket presence, struggled to get through his progressions, and has average arm strength. He has been praised for his leadership, character and work ethic, but this year could define his legacy in Cincinnati. He could cement himself as the Bengals franchise quarterback or he could show little growth and end up losing his starting spot.
The past two-years veteran quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has held the clipboard behind Dalton. Gradkowski is a hard worker, but he isn’t going to compete with Dalton for the starting job.
The Bengals have a dilemma on their hands. Should they resign Gradkowski who is set to be an unrestricted free agent or should they bring in someone else to become Dalton’s backup? There is only one way to address all of their needs with just one roster spot. They need a backup and they clearly need Dalton to improve. Drafting a quarterback would solve both problems.
Dalton is the ultimate competitor and has been praised by offensive coordinator John Gruden about how confident he is. If the Bengals select a quarterback in the draft it won’t hurt Dalton, it will make him better.
The Bengals need to draft a guy who can make the throws Dalton can’t. They need someone who can potentially succeed Dalton if he doesn’t show improvement in his third season.
If they take a guy with a lot of upside it could pay off in a few ways. It could motivate Dalton to reach his potential and prove he can be a franchise quarterback. We’ve also seen how valuable a backup quarterback can be. Kirk Cousins in Washington is a perfect example of a guy who was brought in to be a backup, but can slide into the starting role if the Redskins need him to.
The Bengals can sit back and resign Gradkowski and keep coasting along. They will continue to be formidable with a solid defense and A.J. Green leading the offense. However, this team has made some great moves the past two seasons. They are one of the best young teams in the league, but Dalton has held them back. If the Bengals want to continue moving forward as an organization they will spend a draft pick on a quarterback. It will further benefit Dalton and the rest of the young and upcoming Cincinnati Bengals.