No, they weren’t necessarily looking to find an upgrade over Andy Dalton. Instead, they wanted to add more competition for the backup spot following the departure of AJ McCarron. While they did sign Matt Barkley in free agency, he’s a shaky backup at best with no real upside as a starting quarterback.
Jeff Driskel is still an unknown, and an injury-prone unknown at that. That made it an easy call to target a quarterback sometime on Day 3 of the draft. While it didn’t come until Round 7, the Bengals finally found their man in Toledo’s Logan Woodside.
One of the best small-school quarterbacks in college football over the last two years, Woodside set multiple school records during his time with the Rockets. In 2016, he completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 4,129 yards with 45 TDs and only nine interceptions.
He then finished his final season with 3,882 yards, 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes. It didn’t quite measure up to his junior season, but it will still enough to have him on the Bengals’ radar.
Logan Whiteside was my QB #8 in this draft. Good arm and goes through his progressions. Doesn’t overly shine, but rarely has a bad game. I like him as a potential #2 or #3 QB for the #Bengals— Shane P. Hallam (@ShanePHallam) April 28, 2018
In fact, the Bengals actually considered trading up to take Woodside, according to head coach Marvin Lewis. Thankfully, they stayed patient as Woodside fell to them, and they were able to keep their other seventh-round picks, which were used on Florida State receiver Auden Tate and Ole Miss offensive lineman Rod Taylor.
“I feel good about the guys we picked there at the end, because there was talk of moving up to make sure we got the quarterback,” said Lewis. “Mike Brown has that crystal ball, so we stayed right there and still picked him, and then we were able to pick off the offensive lineman (Rod Taylor) and the receiver (Auden Tate), so that was good. That worked out well.”
Had the Bengals moved up, they would have likely given up one of those picks, thus losing out on either Tate or Taylor. But was Woodside the quarterback Cincinnati wanted all along?
When asked if the Bengals considered a quarterback on Day 2, Lewis said, “we discussed it.”
Thing is, the only good spot to take a quarterback on Day 2 would have been in Round 3, as it looked like Cincinnati would go on the clock with Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph on the board. There weren’t any other quarterbacks selected on Day 3, and after Rudolph, another quarterback wasn’t selected until Kyle Lauletta with pick No. 108.
In other words, if the Bengals considered a quarterback on Day 2, it was probably Rudolph, but they didn’t get the chance to take him in Round 3. There was pre-draft talk that Rudolph could sneak into Round 1 and probably wouldn’t last beyond Round 2, so getting him in Round 3 would have been great value.
That is, until the Steelers traded up and took Rudolph three picks before the Bengals’ selection. Lewis joked that the Steelers may have known they wanted a quarterback, though he didn’t specifically mention Rudolph.
“I don’t know. They must have our room bugged (laughs). But I feel great about the guys we have in this building,” said Lewis.
Maybe it’s nothing, but it certainly sounds like the Bengals would have at least considered a quarterback in Round 3 when the Bengals made pick No. 54 in Round 3. Rudolph made the most sense there, but alas, they never got a chance to seriously consider taking him there.