The Bengals are crafting a plan to replace backup quarterback AJ McCarron after he won his grievance to become an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Buffalo Bills. That plan is likely to draft a quarterback in the middle of this year’s NFL Draft. It makes sense considering that’s how the team got McCarron after all.
According to Draft Analyst, the Bengals sent new quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt to Richmond’s pro day to take a look at Kyle Lauletta. Tony Pauline talked about how Lauletta impressed the scouts in attendance.
By all accounts Kyle Lauletta, who had a terrific Senior Bowl performance, looked very good despite the cold weather conditions. The Richmond senior is projected by some as a potential second day choice. We presently grade Lauletta as a fifth roound selection.
The Senior Bowl is really where Lauletta started to stick out. Prior to that he was an intriguing name, but there were still major concerns attached to his game. The story at the Senior Bowl was supposed to be Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield trying to battle for position at the top of the draft, but Lauletta’s 198 yards and three touchdowns quickly stole the show.
At Richmond, Lauletta started to register on scouts’ radars the past two seasons when he threw for more than 3,000 yards and completed more than 60 percent of his passes for two years in a row. He also threw 24 touchdowns to eight interceptions in 2016, which he followed up with 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2017.
Lauletta really has a nice understanding of where the ball needs to go and it was obvious how he was able to learn how to use his eyes to move defenders around the field to open up bigger passing windows over his final two seasons. His mechanics are also impeccable, but that leads us into the negative, which is hard to ignore.
He lacks the arm strength to make every throw the NFL would like to see a quarterback make. He has learned how to anticipate throws, and he knows how to optimize his footwork to help cover it up. Still, there are times where he just ends up floating one up, and in the NFL that can’t happen. That’s likely while he’ll be a backup and not a starter in the NFL.
It says a lot that the Bengals had their quarterbacks coach stop by and take a look. His opinion will obviously carry some weight in whether or not the Bengals are interested in considering Lauletta as the team’s next backup quarterback. Lauletta is an ascending prospect at this point, but his arm strength will put a ceiling on just how how far he can go.
If he ends up in Cincinnati, Lauletta would be in a battle for the backup spot behind Dalton with Jeff Driskel, once he returns from his hand injury.