It's obvious that the Cincinnati Bengals are going to draft a quarterback in one of the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft. The question is, which round? The follow up question is, will the quarterbacks they target even be around? According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, two quarterbacks the Bengals that are targeting in the second round could be first round selections.
“It doesn’t look like either Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton,” Schefter said on SportsCenter Thursday, “is going to make it into the second round.”
If there's an ounce of truth to this, it could put a wrench into everything.
If Ponder and Dalton, both conducting private workouts with the Bengals today, are gone in the first round, Ryan Mallett would be the only remaining quarterback that the Cincinnati Bengals have shown interest in. Now they could always feel comfortable enough with Mallett, and go ahead with their initial plan to draft a wide receiver in the first round. And it still seems unlikely that five quarterbacks will be drafted before the Bengals second round selection.
However, we have to wonder how the Bengals will react. If there's a growing wide-spread belief that Dalton and Ponder are gone in the first round -- and Schefter isn't the first to promote this -- then it could force the Bengals hand (aka, overreacting) by selecting a quarterback like Missouri's Blaine Gabbert or Auburn's Cam Newton, in the first round.
Would the Bengals risk losing out on a quarterback in the first two rounds is the greater question of urgency they'll be faced with. The more appropriate solution could be a trade. Either trade back with your first round selection or trade up from your second round pick.
...Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King has had people telling him that offensive coordinator Jay Gruden loves Dalton and King is theorizing that Jon Gruden is telling his brother to convince Bengals president Mike Brown to do anything he can to trade up from 35 to get him.
In the end, if Dalton and Ponder go in the first round and the Bengals can't make a trade (or more likely, won't), then it appears that Newton, Blaine or Mallett could closer than ever to being drafted by Cincinnati.