Selecting Teddy Bridgewater with the 24th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft would create a better backup quarterback situation than the Cincinnati Bengals currently have with Jason Campbell, but drafting Bridgewater should not be a replacement plan for starter Andy Dalton.
With Bridgewater projected to go anywhere from the beginning of the first round to falling as far as the middle of the third round, the supposed interest that the Bengals have in the former quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals only adds to the intrigue of where he will end up. The Bengals could look like geniuses at some point in the future by landing Bridgewater as his stock has been falling dramatically, and while Campbell isn’t the worst option as a backup, the team would be smart to sign a signal caller in the draft that has less mileage and more potential than its current option.
It may seem like Dalton has been in the NFL forever, but the 26-year old quarterback has only played three seasons. In his first season, the “Red Rifle” was able to show promise with 3,398 passing yards, 20 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions, 152 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Dalton has increased his passing yard total each season that he has played, as well as his touchdown total. In a tough division with the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, that is an impressive feat.
Even though the Bengals have one of the best wide receivers in the whole league, A.J. Green, Dalton hasn’t always had playmakers to get the ball to. With the emergence of wide receiver Marvin Jones, the dual-threat back Giovani Bernard and 6-foot-6 tight end Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati is on its way to building an offensive powerhouse.
Dalton is set to hit free agency in 2015, and it appears that the Bengals could wait to see how the 2014 season plays out. While this doesn’t show the most confidence in the starting quarterback, it does make sense for business purposes. If Dalton were to completely bomb this upcoming season, the Bengals could part ways and start the transition to make Bridgewater the starting quarterback. From the opportunities that he will have, however, it should not be necessary to let Dalton hit the free market.
With incredible young talent around him and new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Dalton is poised for a career year. He has shown that he is willing to try to improve his mechanics by working with quarterback guru Tom House, and with House working with Tom Brady and Drew Brees, Dalton is sure to learn a thing or two.
Although Dalton has been extremely sporadic at times, the Bengals would be very foolish to give up on him when he is set up for one of the best seasons of his career.