Cincinnati Bengals' Desire for Teddy Bridgewater Has Potentially Huge Repercussions

By Grant E. Doepel
teddy bridgewater cincinnati bengals
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone assumes that the Cincinnati Bengals will take a quarterback in 2014 NFL Draft, but the great debate revolves around when exactly that selection will happen. Chris Mortensen seems to have an idea of when that selection might happen:

This would be an incredible waste of a pick by the Marvin Lewis and Mike Brown if they choose to go this route. All offseason long the Bengals have voiced how Andy Dalton is the team’s quarterback — for now and for the future. Drafting Teddy Bridgewater would say the complete opposite as everyone knows teams don’t draft quarterbacks in the first round to be lifelong backups. If the Bengals draft Bridgewater, they are giving up on Dalton and that would be a mistake for many reasons.

First off, Dalton succeeds when things are going well for him. Look at his career statistics; he is very streaky. When things are going well, Dalton continues to put up big numbers. However, succeeding in the face of adversity has never been his strong suit. It is hard to imagine Dalton taking the drafting of Bridgewater in the first round as a challenge to become better. He, as well as everyone else, would see it as the Bengals opening the door and allowing him to walk away in 2015. If Dalton is constantly looking over his shoulder during the season at Bridgewater, expectations for Dalton’s success would not be very high.

Secondly, this selection would drive an even bigger wedge between Dalton and the city of Cincinnati. Every time he throws an incomplete pass or an interception, the entire city will be calling for Bridgewater. Bengals fans booed the offense in Paul Brown Stadium at times last year — imagine what they would do to Dalton. If the Bengals draft Bridgewater yet still hope to sign Dalton to an extension, the fans would (possibly inadvertently) keep that from happening.

The third reason is Jordan Dalton, Andy’s wife. Look at all the hate Dalton receives from fans on Twitter and the comments sections of websites; some of it is despicable. Drafting Bridgewater would multiply that immensely. And believe that Dalton’s wife sees every bit of it. Remember the driving force behind Carson Palmer demanding a trade from the Bengals? Shaelyn Palmer, his wife, couldn’t stand the hate directed to her husband from the fanbase. If Bridgewater is drafted, the exact same thing will happen.

Lastly, the selection of Bridgewater by the Bengals in the first round would rob Cincinnati of improving in areas that need an upgrade. With their selection in the first round, the Bengals can easily improve at either cornerback, linebacker, defensive line or offensive line. They could even improve at wide receiver instead of taking a quarterback. Point being that Cincinnati should not pass up an opportunity to drastically improve their team.

If Lewis and Brown are dead set on drafting a quarterback, they should wait until day two. By drafting someone such as Zach Mettenberger or Aaron Murray, the Bengals could improve the position without reaching for it in the first round and squandering the opportunity to bolster an already loaded team.

The wildcard in all of this is Mike Brown who has been coy about Dalton and his Bengals future. By not committing to an extension publicly yet admitting to the press he wanted to draft Colin Kaepernick instead of Dalton, Brown may not allow his coaching staff to have the final say again if the quarterback he desires is still available.

Before Marvin Lewis, the Bengals drafted the “big names” and that landed them players such as Akili Smith and David Klingler. The team has succeeded under Lewis because they no longer draft by name pedigree, instead following their impeccable scouting. That process has worked over the last three years, and it would be catastrophic to revert to their old ways now.

Regardless, the 2014 draft is going to be very revealing and will go a long way in defining the future of the Bengals franchise.

Grant Doepel is a Cincinnati Bengals writer for Follow him on Twitter @GrantDoepel, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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