The Bengals seem to have gotten the quarterback that they had their eyes on all along in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Andy Dalton was available when the Bengals went on the clock and the team's representative sprinted up to the podium fast than Dontay Moch could to turn in their card.
Part of the reason that they have gotten such high draft grades for 2011 was because they were patient and despite an attempt to trade up into the first round with the Green Bay Packers, the Bengals were able to select the players that they wanted without having to make any moves. Patients, in their case, paid off.
However, not all agree that the Bengals selected the right players in the right place. Former Bengal defensive tackle John Thornton believes that the Bengals not only shouldn't have drafted Dalton in second round, but they shouldn't have drafted a quarterback at No. 35 either.
The only thing I would have changed in this draft was in round two. I would have selected V Tech RB Ryan Williams instead of a QB. He’s the real deal. Iowa QB Ricki Stanzi was there in round 5 and he can play, so that’s where the real value was, but overall, good weekend for the Bengals.
It's no secret that the Bengals need to address the running back position. Cedric Benson is a free agent and the only running back left on the roster is Bernard Scott. There are concerns about Scott's durability and his ability to to be a feature back in the AFC North. While it's important that the Bengals attempt to re-sign Benson, or another running back, Thornton doesn't believe that they should bend over backwards to get a deal done.
They don’t NEED to sign Cedric Benson because there are a bunch of good veteran RBs on the market that can tote the ball 25 times a game, I wouldn’t break the bank for one.
The Bengals figured that their biggest need in the second round was quarterback, though. They passed up on Williams, who was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round with the No. 38 pick. The Bengals didn't select a running back until they used their seventh round compensatory pick on Baylor's Jay Finley.
Regardless of Thornton's feelings about the Bengals second-round pick, he knows that what's been done is done. They got their quarterback in Dalton in the second round, but Thornton doesn't believe that Dalton's going to be quite ready when the season begins.
The pick of QB Andy Dalton is flashy but will take time to pay off. I don’t see him being ready to start the season as the No1 guy, he needs too much work. So the QB position is still incomplete.
I don't know if Dalton will be ready when the season starts, but I don't disagree with Thornton one bit on the fact that the Bengals should go after a veteran quarterback. A guy like Matt Hasselbeck, Chad Pennington, Matt Leinart or Donovan McNabb could do wonders for not only the Bengals but for Dalton's future as the Bengals quarterback.
The Bengals still have some holes in their roster, but all in all, they did very well at doing what they could to make those holes minimal in the draft. The most important positions were quarterback and wide receiver, and those holes, for the most part, are filled. Once free agency opens when the lockout comes to an end, the Bengals will be able to fill the rest of their holes. Until then, they can and should be happy that they're a more complete football team than they were before the draft.