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2011 NFL Draft: Cincinnati Bengals Thinking About Dalton in the First Round?

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Most people believe that the Bengals will select A.J. Green in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft tonight. Almost every mock draft from every expert that has crawled out of the woodwork has the Bengals taking Green. Some defend the pick by saying that the Bengals need Green to replace Chad Ochocinco and secure the future of the position since Ochocinco, Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson are all free agents after the 2011 season. Others defend the pick by saying that releasing Ochocinco and drafting Green could convince disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer to come back for one more year.

Gosselin gives the Bengals A.J. Green, the Georgia wideout, at number four, and offers this prescient comment: "This is the only shot the Bengals have of luring Carson Palmer out of retirement. Draft the best receiver in college football, release Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, and give Palmer a clean canvas to resume his career."

Sigh.

Anyway, another scenario has reared its head and has grown and is continuing to catch wind as the draft grows nearer and nearer. That scenario is one in which the Bengals would trade the fourth overall pick to a team possibly looking to move up and grab a guy like Green or Julio Jones, so they could move back and grab a quarterback, namely TCU's Andy Dalton.

"He had an unbelievable Pro Day, he played well in the all-star game and he did very well at the scouting combine," veteran former NFL assistant Jerry Rhome, Dalton's quarterback coach, told the National Football Post. "I know Andy can play. Andy is one of the sharpest quarterbacks I've been around and I coached Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Troy Aikman. He's a very accurate passer.

"The knock on him is he's not the greatest athlete in the world. This kid ran a 4.8 and is 6-2, 215 pounds. He's really smart and he knows where to put the ball. He can move in the pocket, see down the field and put it where it has to go. There's a lot more to this game than just being big and strong. Andy is a winner."

Moving back could be the best move for the Bengals. Not only would they get the quarterback that they so desperately need, they would get extra picks in the second, third or possibly both rounds to help fill the holes they have in their roster at the safety, running back, offensive line, defensive line and wide receiver positions.

They may even be able to get a top-tier wide receiver and still get Dalton. Let's say the Bengals trade back to Houston, who may want to trade up to grab a guy like Patrick Peterson. The Bengals could still be in prime position to grab Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. Then, with the extra picks they earned from trading back, they could package a deal to move back up into the first round to grab their quarterback.

Either way, picking a player other than a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick could be a risk that the Bengals aren't willing to take. There would be no guarantee that the Bengals would be able to get their hands on a quarterback when they go on the clock in the second round. Trading back to get their quarterback could be the best chance that they have to right the sinking ship.

As far as Andy Dalton is concerned, he knows that he can help any team that drafts him, not because he's the most talented quarterback in this year's draft class, but because he knows what he's doing.

"People say you don't have a strong arm or can't do something, it's just motivation to go out there and prove them wrong," Dalton said at the NFL scouting combine. "I understand the game really well. I think it's the way the offense was for me and TCU put a lot on me.

"I knew a lot, which allowed them to put a lot on me. Hopefully, they'll see that I'm a winner, I didn't lose very many ballgames. I can't stand to lose. All my hard work is to win ball games."