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Way-too-early 2019 mock draft predicts end of the Andy Dalton-era for Bengals

What better way to start the first week after the draft than to discuss mock drafts for 2019?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We spent a lot of time discussing mock drafts for 2018, and now that the draft is over, several websites have pushed out their 2019 NFL mock drafts. This should go without saying that these are purely entertainment combined with an idea of which prospects are viewed as the top guys for next season. These will change a lot. But, for now, they are what they are.

What is interesting is two different sites have predicted the Bengals to be drafting first or second overall next season. After going 7-9 last season and winning their final two games, it would be extremely disappointing to see the Bengals take the plunge into the bottom of the NFL. However, if that were to happen the Bengals apparently have some nice consolation prizes waiting for them.

Here is who some mock drafts have the Bengals taking in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Big Lead: 1. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Think we’ll see the end of the Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton eras next year. The 6-foot-4, 225 pound Lock made a big leap as a junior, and as of now, he’s the best QB in next year’s class.

Sporting News: 2. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

If not for injury, Herbert in 2017 might have led Oregon to a better record and, potentially, could have garnered Heisman consideration. He has the arm talent, confidence in the pocket and perimeter placement to be a star in the NFL.

SB Nation: 12. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

This offseason the Bengals added tackle Cordy Glenn and center Billy Price to the offensive line. They could take another season next draft with Little, who will challenge Williams and Edwards as the top tackle prospect.

Bleacher Report: 2. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

If the Cincinnati Bengals are selecting at No. 2 overall, it’s time to draft Andy Dalton’s replacement.

The 2019 quarterback class doesn’t have a go-to No. 1 guy. There isn’t a Jared Goff or Sam Darnold where we knew a year out that they’d be viewed as a top player. But if there is one quarterback talked about by NFL scouts more than others, it’s Oregon’s Justin Herbert.

Herbert’s accuracy, timing and athleticism have teams excited, and based on a quick look at his 2017 season, he looks the part of a potential QB1.

It is nothing new to see people try and bury the Bengals in the offseason. Even during their playoff run, most of the media would predict that year to be the year they fall. Now that we have seen the two worst seasons in the Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis era, it should come as no surprise that the media want to bury the Bengals even deeper.

We’re going to commit to this hypothetical though. In all reality the Bengals are one Dalton injury away from this scenario anyway. If the Bengals fall this far it really should come as no surprise that the team would look to move on from Dalton. It would actually be less surprising to see the team draft a quarterback that high than to see Marvin Lewis fired. It feels like Mike Brown would give him a year or two with a new quarterback, because there is no getting rid of Marvin Lewis. Right?

Lock is a nice reboot quarterback and has the arm that Dalton never really had. He threw 43 touchdowns last year at Missouri with only 12 picks. Although, he has never completed 60 percent of his passes.

Herbert is less impressive, and that pick is probably based more on assuming he has a monster Junior season. He has seen some injuries but he has never thrown for more than 20 touchdowns in the PAC-12, which is known for its softer defenses. His mobility is something the Bengals would enjoy though. Even though Dalton is way more athletic than people give him credit for, Herbert’s legs are an actual weapon the offensive coordinator could use.

At this point I’d rather see Lock in stripes if this played out. He has that little bit of swagger these new quarterbacks seem to have, and his ability to really feel the pocket and make big plays when necessary would be a shot of adrenaline into this team. Still this is the least likely scenario next season. The Bengals should be very competitive with the changes they’ve made this offseason.

Here’s to writing off 2019 mock drafts! And, to the end of mock season.