The Cincinnati Bengals have been linked to Andy Dalton for the past week or so, stemming from a report that new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden covets him.
With Dalton still on the the board, and plenty of time to discuss a trade today, it would make sense for the Bengals to move up to ensure he’s available.
According to Chris Mortensen the Bengals discussed a trade with the Packers last night, with Dalton likely being their target. Now the Patriots – clearly a willing trade partner – sitting on the clock at No. 33, we could see the 2nd round kicked off with a trade.
You can’t read too much into pre-draft visits. Just because a team meets with a player doesn’t mean they’re actually interested in that guy – after all, there’s no guarantee that they like what they see up close.
However, when a team invests a large number of visits into players at certain position it is a strong indication if their intentions.
Such is the case with the Chicago Bears, who have either already worked out or set up visits with three quarterbacks.
North Carolina’s T.J. Yates, Idaho’s Nathan Enderle and TCU’s Andy Dalton – all potential mid-round selections – have scheduled workouts with the Bears.
The best of the group is Dalton, who I believe could come off the board as early as the late 2nd round. As a result, he’s probably a long shot to land in Chicago. Both Yates and Enderle, however, should still be on the board in the 4th round or later making them reasonable options.
Last year the Bears drafted Dan LeFevour out of Central Michigan in the 6th round (and later cut him). Since that didn’t work out, it’s possible that they’ll try to land a quarterback earlier in the draft to increase their chances of finding someone who can stick on the roster.
Other possibilities in the 4th or 5th round include Greg McElroy and Ricky Stanzi.
With a large class of potential 1st-round quarterbacks the middle-tier guys haven’t received much media attention. One under-the-radar guy that is starting to generate some buzz, however, is Andy Dalton (my 4th-rated quarterback).
According to various reports, Dalton has either already met with or is scheduled to visit the Bears, Bengals, Browns, Chiefs, Patriots and Vikings.
Dalton could wind up starting for someone in 2011
I have Newton rated ahead of potential 1st-round picks Cam Newton and Jake Locker, mainly because I believe he is the most NFL-ready quarterback in this year’s draft class. He isn’t the flashiest player with the strongest arm but he is a solid pocket passer with above-average athleticism.
The reason for all the interest in Dalton is the fact that he fills a variety of needs for different teams.
Teams like the Bears and Patriots are looking for a quality backup quarterback, and Dalton can fill that role immediately. He may not end up ever starting for those franchises, but he can provide some insurance behind Tom Brady and Jay Cutler.
Others may look to him as a short-term starter. The Vikings, for example, may miss out on the opportunity to land a top-tier quarterback in the 1st round. However, if Dalton is on the board in the 2nd or 3rd round, they could select him and plan on making him the starter for 2011. Given the uncertainty surrounded free agency, this would be a safe way to ensure that they have someone other than Joe Webb at quarterback if they’re unable to address that need in free agency. In that scenario Dalton may only start for season, but he would be a cheap one-year starter who would then become a valuable backup once the new franchise quarterback is brought in.
Mike Holmgren has faith in Colt McCoy. He’s made that very clear.
However, he also plans to draft a quarterback.
That admission shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that both Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace are free agents. However, Holmgren also stated that he plans to meet with all of the top quarterbacks, which he indicated probably includes Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton.
It will be interesting to see what Holmgren means when he says he will meet with all of the top quarterbacks. He said he will “bring them in, do our work and see what happens.”
Does that mean he plans to use some of his private workouts on guys like Gabbert and Newton?
If so, it’s a questionable decision and has to make you wonder how committed he is to McCoy. If they’re set to move forward with McCoy, it makes no sense to draft a quarterback in the 1st or 2nd round. So why waste a draft visit on quarterbacks that will be long gone by the time its worth considering a signal caller.
One would think it would be wise to focus on more realistic 1st-round options, and perhaps some mid-round quarterbacks such as Pat Devlin, Andy Dalton and Ricky Stanzi.
Andy Dalton - QB – TCU
Opinions of Dalton vary greatly. Some feel as though he is a fringe 1st-rounder, others believe he is a late-round prospect. How he performs this week could sway a lot of scouts one way or the other. He wasn’t always consistent at TCU, and the fact that he wasn’t being tested against elite defenses on a weekly basis raises some concerns. Going head-to-head with the top prospects in the nation will help us get a better idea of how he really stacks up.
Gabe Carimi – OT – Wisconsin
I’m not convinced that Carimi can play left tackle. He held his own against players such as Adrian Clayborn and Cameron Heyward, but neither of those guys is an elite pass rusher. I need to see him match up against faster edge rushers before I would be willing to consider him a left tackle.
Casey Matthews and Jake Locker both need big weeks to prove doubters wrong
Casey Matthews – ILB – Oregon
Like his older brother, Casey is never the best athlete on the field, but what he lacks in talent he makes up for in effort. Just as Clay rose up the draft boards in 2009, I expect Casey to do the same this offseason. This week will be his best opportunity to separate himself from some of the others in a relatively week class for inside linebackers.
Jake Locker – QB – Washington
Locker’s senior year was a letdown, and this is his best chance to prove his doubters wrong. Locker’s apologists point to his supporting cast as an excuse for his performance. Well, no such excuse can be made this week. He is the most talented of the senior quarterbacks and if he can’t outperform guys like Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, be prepared for his stock to plummet.
Greg Salas – WR – Hawaii
I like Salas a lot; he has good size and great hands and was tremendously productive at Hawaii. However, everyone is always skeptical of someone who puts up big numbers in Hawaii’s offense. This is a very weak class of senior receivers, and Salas has a chance to make a name for himself this week.
Bilal Powell – RB – Louisville
Scouts have very little film on which to grade Powell. He saw limited playing time until his senior year. However, he is a bruising downhill runner and could be a standout this week in Mobile. If he emerges as one of the top senior running backs, he could raise his stock to the 2nd or 3rd round range. However, if he struggles his stock will fall fast.