The Cincinnati Bengals will almost certainly draft a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. When and where they do it is what really matters, as it will be a good indicator of how they feel about their current starting signal-caller.
There's two questions to consider here:
1. How committed are the Bengals to Dalton?
2. How confident are they that a long-term deal will get done?
Both of those -- to some degree -- will influence how high the Bengals are willing to draft a QB.
By not taking one in Round 1, it only means they weren't actively looking to replace him. Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Fresno State's Derek Carr were on the board at pick No. 24, but Cincinnati passed on both of them. Many scouts and analysts had those two ranked anywhere between 1-4 as the draft's best QB prospects.
If the Bengals draft a QB in Round 2, it only reinforces the belief that they aren't completely sold on Andy Dalton and giving him a long-term extension. There's going to at least a couple of players at other positions capable of starting as rookies on the board at pick No. 55.
By passing on them to select a QB, it says that the Bengals are uneasy about Dalton being on the roster past 2015.
But if they instead wait to take on in the third round, it's not as big of a red flag. It shows they do want a developmental QB who could possibly become a quality NFL starter someday.
Maybe, that guy would be someone to be groomed into a potential replacement for Dalton after he's (theoretically) signed a long-term extension that keeps him in the fold for 3-5 more years.
If the Bengals don't take one at all on Day 2, it probably means they're pretty committed to Dalton. While that doesn't necessarily mean they'll sign him to a long-term deal before the season begins, it does reflect their optimism that a deal will eventually get done.
Some names to look for on Day 2 include Alabama's A.J. McCarron, who's projected to be drafted somewhere between the second and fourth round.
LSU's Zach Mettenberger should go higher, possibly within the first 10 picks of the second round to a QB-needy team who bypasses on one with their Top 10 pick in the first round.
Pittsburgh's Tom Savage could go anywhere between the second and fourth round. He's got great arm talent and good measurables, but his mechanics and pocket awareness leave a lot to be desired. If you just watch his game tape, you probably won't want to touch him until Day 3.
The aforementioned Carr should also go early in the second round, possibly at No. 33 to the Houston Texans.
Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas is another prospect to watch for. Some NFL teams view him as a developmental QB with a ton of upside who they'll be willing to spend a second-round pick on. Others view the former college tight end as a just that: A project TE who they wouldn't take until late into Day 3.
The Bengals have met with McCarron, Savage, Thomas and Mettenberger, but not Carr. Those are the potential Day 2 QB prospects to look for if their on the board when the Bengal are the clock.