The Bengals are in desperate need of players to fill a lot of holes in their roster. The Bengals will need to address the positions of safety, wide receiver, defensive line, offensive line and now it seems quarterback in April's NFL draft. The combine has given us a glimpse of the quarterbacks that could be taking the snaps for the Bengals in 2011. Even though Ryan Mallett impressed coaches the most with his workout on Sunday, Joe Reedy thinks another quarterback may be a better fit in new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's system: Florida State's Christian Ponder.
If Bob Bratkowski was still the offensive coordinator, Mallett’s arm would be the better fit because of the downfield style. But of all the quarterbacks in this draft, Ponder appears to be the most ready to step in and run a West Coast system.
Reedy wrote that Ponder had the best performance of the quarterbacks in the second group showing great accuracy and touch on short and intermediate passes as well as his deep passes. In Gruden's west coast offense, designed to marry a running game with a short and intermediate passing game in which the quarterback attempts to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possibly, Ponder may be a better fit than Mallett or even Cam Newton. He could also be drafted by the Bengals with their second-round pick allowing them to draft A.J. Green, Nick Fairley or one of the other game changing, talented players with their No. 4 overall pick. Reedy even lays out a scenario in which this is possible.
Unless Newton is there, I think a QB with the fourth pick would be a stretch. However, A.J. Green in the first and Ponder in the second would make sense.
Of course, this is considering that Newton or maybe Blaine Gabbert would be off the board, taken by the Panthers or Bills, by the time the Bengals are on the clock. If that's the case, could an A.J. Green/Christian Ponder duo be on the field in 2011?
This may be the most interesting and vital draft in which the Bengals participate in the last 10 years.