What do the Bengals have in Dan LeFevour?

Dan LeFevour. Just the name sparks conversation among Bengals faithful. Some want to see him play instead of a new rookie QB, while others are ready to acknowledge LeFevour as a project and move forward with a drafted QB. No matter where you stand in this debate, everybody can recognize that LeFevour is a developmental guy. He's going to need time before he can be fully evaluated. I understand both arguments. This Draft class is full of project and developmental quarterbacks. So why take another when LeFevour has just as much talent? In truth, we haven't seen LeFevour play at all. He was cut by the Bears and has never taken a snap as a Bengal. So what do we have in Dan LeFevour?

I'm going to treat him like he's part of this year's draft class. How does LeFevour stack up? Where did people rank him last year and where would he rank this year? Can he play this year with an NFL season under his belt? All of these questions and more will be answered after you click on the jump below.

Dan LeFevour - QB - Central Michigan University - Bengals - 6'3" 230 lbs

Strengths: LeFevour is a smart player who gets it. He will work hard to improve his game and become the player he needs to be. He's a natural leader. Good athlete for the QB position. Better than average accuracy. Can throw on the run. Has a quick over-the-top delivery. Great production in college.

Weaknesses: Comes with typical spread offense questions. He will need to work on his drop-back, pocket awareness, reading defenses, standing in the pocket, and everything that comes along with the typical college to NFL transition. His biggest weakness is his arm strength. At best it's below average.

2009 Stats: 318 of 456 - 69.7%, 3,438 pass yards, 28 TDs 7 ints, 713 rush yards 15 TDs

 

Dan LeFevour didn't throw at the Combine in 2009, but did do some drills.

Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour, officially, ran a 4.66 forty-yard dash at the Scouting Combine Sunday.

He also had a nine-foot, two-inch broad jump. LeFevour, who has drawn lots of criticism for skipping passing drills at the Combine, is not an explosive athlete. His forty time is good, but he won't be a dual threat in the pros.

Rotoworld.com

Here are some quotes from after LeFevour's pro day last year.

After speaking to officials from five teams on hand, NFL Network's Mike Mayock reports that Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour demonstrated "average" ability at his Wednesday Pro Day.

LeFevour struggled to throw spirals, his ball "wobbled" too much, and evaluators came away saying the four-year starter is merely a "fourth- or fifth-round quarterback." As suspected, LeFevour isn't a big-time prospect.

Rotoworld.com

Opinions of Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour's passing were reportedly "mixed" after he threw for evaluators at his Pro Day.

LeFevour didn't throw to moving targets in Indianapolis, so he needed a big day to motivate his draft stock. However, LeFevour "struggled throwing the ball downfield," which isn't surprising considering his lack of ideal arm strength. Receivers reportedly had to slow down their routes frequently to haul in his throws, with some "out-running LeFevour's deep passes altogether."

Rotoworld.com

Once drafted by the Bears in the 6th round, Mel Kiper, Todd McShay and Chris Mortenson weighed in on Dan LeFevour's NFL prospects.

Mel Kiper: "This is a kid that I think in 3 or 4 years can really be a factor in the NFL. He has the exact same size as Chad Pennington, and I see a little bit of Pennington in this kid. He's smart; he studies the game like Chad does. This kid's accuracy is under rated. Better than average arm, very athletic. Put this kid's numbers with the best of this class and he's right there. Definitely needs some more work coming from the MAC. I liked the way he threw the ball and hung in there against top-level teams from the Big Ten. He can beat you with his legs. He has the mind for it. He studies it. Watch out. He's a sixth-round pick that will be under the radar and in 3 or 4 years come back and see where he is."

Todd McShay: "Dan LeFevour's accuracy is the issue for me. Watching the tape; the ball is fluttering, He's inconsistent, and he misses within the strike zone. "

Chris Mortenson: "Mike Martz is a great evaluator of Quarterbacks and he puts a premium on accuracy. I know for a fact that Mike Martz really liked that part of his game. This is a developmental project. I think his mechanics are way out of synch."

Dan LeFevour's 2010 Preseason

Bears rookie quarterback Dan LeFevour rang up the pick meter during Monday's practice, throwing six interceptions on his first day of operating with an increased workload.

Given extra repetitions because of a shoulder injury to backup quarterback Caleb Hanie in the preseason opener, LeFevour, understandably, struggled, tossing two picks apiece to linebacker Brian Iwuh and reserve cornerback Corey Graham and one to Josh Bullocks.

"You can see there were a few mistakes out there," LeFevour said after practice. "I've got plenty to learn. It's challenging, obviously, as a rookie coming in learning a new offense, going under center; all those things. But those are excuses. I've just got to keep learning, take everything that coach [Mike] Martz, and [quarterbacks] coach [Shane] Day say, and just try to put it to work and take advantage of my reps."

August 16, 2010 espnchicago.com

He was an intriguing player, given his brilliant career at Central Michigan, where he broke numerous records and made plays both with his feet and his arm.

But after two weeks of training camp, LeFevour has hardly looked ready to make a meaningful contribution to the 2010 Chicago Bears. LeFevour hasn't consistently made plays and, perhaps most alarming, his arm just doesn't look like NFL material.

What about his legs, which propelled him to nearly 3,000 rushing yards and 47 rushing touchdowns? He hasn't been running circles around the Bears first-, second-, or third-string defenses.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/bears/2010/08/what_will_the_bears_do_with_le.html

 After a bad start in training camp and pre season, LeFevour managed to pull it together vs. the Oakland Raiders.

Bears QB Dan LeFevour did not disappoint in Saturday's preseason game against the Raiders, finishing 10-of-12 for 100 yards and a touchdown.

With Caleb Hanie (shoulder) sidelined, LeFevour was called upon to backup starter Jay Cutler. LeFevour looked like he was finally getting a grasp of Mike Martz's offense, leading the team to a touchdown and a field goal.

Rotoworld.com

 Preseason Stats: 19 of 41 - 46.3%, 204 pass yards, 1 TD 1 int, 6 Sacks, 38 rush yards

More Opinions

First, I asked the Bears writer at Windycitygridiron.com what he saw from Dan LeFevour in his short time with the Bears. He said via Twitter, "Didn't see much from LeFevour. Camp/Practices were not good. Very inaccurate passer. Outlook: Long-term project; practice squad."

That made me want to see what other knowledgeable people thought of Dan LeFevour. I Asked NFL.com's Michael Lombardi; How do you think the Bengals view Dan LeFevour? He said via Twitter, "Has to be as a backup... maybe that. They will draft one."

Mockingthedraft.com told me they basically thought he could be a good backup with NFL coaching.

NewEraScouting.com's Matt Miller gave me a really good overview of the Bengals/LeFevour situation.

What I would say about Cincinnati's drafting a quarterback is that while LeFevour looked good in his 30-odd throws during the preseason he does not have the potential of a high draft pick from the 2011 NFL Draft class.

Yes, LeFevour was ranked No. 96 on our board last year but would most likely be closer to 120 if he were in this class. I do like the second-tier of quarterbacks in 2011 much better. Guys like Christian Ponder, Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton all show more ability than LeFevour.

I would also add that Cincinnati would be wise to draft a player to develop along side LeFevour. You can never have too many good quarterbacks on the roster. Bill Walsh believed you should draft one quarterback every year, whether you need one or not. This allows you to stay stocked at the most important position on the field should an injury occur- look at Drew Bledsoe/Tom Brady. Also, you build your roster for future trades. Philadelphia is a great example of this currently.

Matt Miller also reminded me of interesting scenario the Green Bay Packers did a few years ago when they drafted Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn in the same year. They developed both QBs side-by-side until one emerged as a capable backup. Brohm was eventually cut and now Flynn is trade bait. The Bengals situation is different because they don't have a starting caliber QB on the roster like the Packers did with Rodgers, but they could develop the bottom two QBs for the future. Either LeFevour or an incoming rookie could hopefully develop into something better in 2-3 years.

Conclusion

In my opinion, starting Dan LeFevour in 2011 would hurt the team. He's not ready to handle a starting NFL spot just yet and possibly never will be able to. Just throwing him out there would hurt the evaluations of other players on the roster. It will be hard to see what you have in your receivers, backs, and offensive line if defenses know the QB can't throw the ball. This is a rebuilding year (again) and the focus needs to be developing the players you plan on keeping for the future. I would much rather see a veteran QB take the team nowhere in 2011 because you will be able to evaluate the surrounding pieces. Of course none of this matters if the Bengals draft a QB in the first round, but if they go with an open QB competition between a rookie, veteran, and Dan LeFevour. Don't expect LeFevour to come out on top. He still needs considerable time.

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