Now that we know the Bengals are going to go through the Combine, and possibly the draft, with the assumption that Carson Palmer will not be their quarterback in 2011, we should probably do the same thing. Since the Bengals don't have a legitimate back-up on the current roster that has any time on a professional field, and since there's a chance that there won't be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the March 4 deadline, let alone by the draft, the best chance the Bengals have to win in 2011 may be in drafting a new quarterback to run the offense.
Many of the possible Carson replacements are in Indianapolis getting ready to show their stuff in the draft right now and the Bengals are there with them. We already know that Marvin Lewis plans to speak to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton on Friday and will speak to Blaine Gabbert and others as the weekend progresses.
Newton's decision to work out fully at the Combine may be a great or terrible decision. He's already on the verge of being considered a top-five quarterback by many draft analysts and working out could push his draft stock all the way to No. 1. However, if he has a bad weekend, his stock could fall right back out of the top-10.
Unlike Newton, Gabbert and Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder will not throw at the Combine. That doesn't mean much, though. ESPN's Paul Kuharsky mentions that eight of the last 12 quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft didn't throw when they worked out at the combine.
He also mentioned that even though there isn't an opening-day starter in this quarterback draft class, there are a lot of quarterbacks that could be taken in the first couple rounds.
McShay considers this year's quarterback crop to be bountiful, although without a surefire opening day starter. Still, he predicted eight quarterbacks could be taken within the first two rounds: Newton, Gabbert, Ponder, Washington's Jake Locker, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi, TCU's Andrew Dalton, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett.
In the above list of potential NFL quarterbacks, could Carson Palmer's 2011 replacement exist? If Cam Newton impresses the Bengals front office during this weekend's combine, could he be selected with the No. 4 overall pick? Could the Bengals attempt to draft a player like A.J. Green or Nick Fairley with their first-round pick and then possibly select an eventual Palmer replacement in the second round or later?
This weekend's combine could have huge implications on the 2011 Bengals roster. Quarterbacks workout on Sunday. We may know a lot more on Monday.