Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been making a couple of media appearances over the past week as the NFL Draft nears. If you remember, Dalton was one of those late-risers in the draft process, rising his stock from third or fourth round talent, to fringe first-rounder when it was all said and done. While appearing recently on local Cincinnati radio, he also made an appearance on Colin Cowherd's nationally-syndicated ESPN Radio show (called "The Herd") on Wednesday.
Cowherd has been critical of the Bengals over the past few years, but was effusive with his praise of Dalton, A.J. Green and the rest of the 2011 Bengals in the interview. Click the jump to see the transcription of the interview. You can also find the audio for the interview here.
CC: "Andy Dalton was very good as a rookie last year as quarterback for the Bengals. Go back a year, Andy, and take us through your emotions this week".
AD: "Going into this week, there was a lot of anticipation. For me, I was on the verge of being a late-first to second round pick, I really wasn't sure, so the first day there were a lot of nerves. You had four quarterbacks going in the top twelve picks and was someone going to trade up? Was someone going to grab me (shortly after those four)? I think the biggest thing is landing in the right situation, and luckily that was something that I was able to do."
CC: Yeah, no question. And you now have a star wide receiver that you will get to play with for a number of years. How sure were you that you were going to go the Bengals?"
AD: "I knew that they were definitely a team that I could end up going to. Especially after the first day went by, I was thinking 'maybe Buffalo', but I also saw that Cincinnati was there and that they'd take me."
CC: "What are some things that you'd make RGIII and Andrew Luck listen to you about, since you've been through this process and made the transition? What was the toughest transition from college to pro?"
AD: "The competition level is just stepped up a bit. Guys are bigger, faster, stronger. The speed of the game is faster, though for me I seemed to adjust pretty quickly. Once you get the terminology down and stuff like that, you can play a lot faster. The first days of meeting all of the new guys and getting used to playing with them, that's the hardest part. Once you pick up on that, things get a lot easier."
CC: "Okay, so you're drafted by the Bengals and given the playbook. How many hours a day was your head in that playbook?"
AD: "You know, I did everything I could to make sure that when I came in, I knew what I was talking about. Obviously, it was a new offense for everyone, not just for me and we all started learning things at the same time. But, I definitely spent a lot of time studying it."
CC: "Have you watched watched RGIII and Andrew Luck play at all?"
AD: "I played against RGIII and I've seen Andrew Luck play. They're both very talented. "
CC: "What did you make of RGIII?"
AD: "Well, I do have one thing going--he didn't beat me, so I've got that going for me (Colin laughs). No, but, he's really talented and showing what he did at the Combine, it's not surprising as he was a hurdler and sprinter and all of that."
CC: "So, you have this really nice rookie season, and everybody loves Andy Dalton and Andy Dalton is great. What did you do this offseason? Did you just get back to the film room? Did you enjoy it a little bit? What is next for you, Andy?"
AD: "I think the time off was nice. Everybody says that the progress you make from your senior year to your rookie year is a process because you're preparing for the draft and you're usually going somewhere to do that. Then you get drafted and you're likely going to the team compound and it's a long year with the whole process. I definitely took some time off and relaxed a little bit. Now I'm getting back to working out and back here throwing with the guys."
CC: "With Andrew Luck and RGIII take over their teams, it can be very difficult because you're a young college kid, but you've got to go into the Bengals and you've got to be a leader and you did that. But, you have a lot of veterans. How do you balance being a leader, but not stepping on the toes of veterans?"
AD: "I think it starts off that you try to win those guys over--show them you're going to work hard. Once they see that, you get the hold that you do and you build those relationships. Yeah, so for me, I had a lot of veterans around me that I could count on to be in the leadership role. Once I had started the process of knowing the guys and making sure that they know me, I didn't have to take it right on, but obviously the quarterback is a leadership position and as time goes on, you're able to show what you can do and take a hold of that area."
CC: "We tend to nitpick prospects, and when you came out there was a criticism of "there's never been a successful red-headed quarterback". Did that bother you or your family?
AD: "(Laughs) It just shows that they really look at everything--even the color of your hair. But, it doesn't matter."