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Bengals mailbag: Driving for Carr and beasts from the East

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Could the Bengals make a swap-out at quarterback for Derek Carr? We connect the dots to see if it makes sense, while also looking at an interesting offensive line prospect from the Scandinavian region.

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We went international on this week’s episode of The Orange and Black Insider, with a couple of questions coming from Denmark, as well as Germany.

The query from Scandinavia centered around a prospect in this year’s draft and the potential of his landing in Cincinnati. Glenn from Denmark was talking about Danish native, Hjalte Froholdt, who played offensive guard for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Froholdt didn’t start playing American football until he was a junior in high school. He did so as a foreign exchange student in Ohio before accepting a scholarship to Arkansas.

At 6’5”, 315 pounds, he’s a load and what one has to like is his consistent improvement from year-to-year. In 2017, Froholdt was named a Pro Football Focus First Team All-SEC pick, for you data geeks out there.

If you like durability, Froholdt also played 747 snaps as a junior a couple of years ago, which accounted for 100 percent of the offensive snaps. What’s more, he’s versatile, as he initially started on the defensive line for the Razorbacks in 2015-2016.

Currently, the consensus is that he’s a day three pick, probably in the Round 5-6 range. There are differing opinions on Froholdt’s strengths and weaknesses, depending on who you ask, but he should at least be on a team’s roster this coming season.

OBI co-host John Sheeran liked his punch and strength on tape he’s seen, while The Draft Network’s Jon Ledyard wasn’t that impressed with his overall playing strength, as of this summer. Regardless, Froholdt showed the ability to stall many defenders in their footsteps against both the pass and run, and “athleticism” is almost always one of the adjectives used when describing “The Great Dane”.

The other things that scouts like about Froholdt was the fact that he also played center at a capable level in the SEC last year. Even though the Bengals invested a first round pick in Billy Price last year there are remaining questions.

The usually-healthy Price missed six games last year, while some believe that he is better-suited as a right guard, given his college pedigree. Trey Hopkins also had mixed results last year while filling in up the middle for Price, so an acquisition like Forholdt who has positional flexibility makes sense.

Froholdt stepped in for Frank Ragnow, a former Bengals draft target, who went to the Lions one pick before Price.

The negative behind Froholdt for the Bengals, aside from being “raw”? It’s in the fact that he primarily played left guard and Cincinnati’s longest-tenured player on the line is Clint Boling at that position.

Last offseason, the Bengals’ brain trust made the sage decision to start four new players on the offensive line after massive struggles shown from the unit in 2017. It paid off to mixed results, and the team will undoubtedly be looking for long-term answers at right guard and right tackle this offseason.

Will Froholdt end up with the Bengals this offseason? I’m not sure. Could the Bengals use his services right away? Definitely.

It’s a name to put on the radar, for sure.

*****

It’s been an offseason for Bengals quarterback rumors. The most common is in a possible reunion with incoming coach, Zac Taylor and his former protege in Miami, Ryan Tannehill.

Rumors have the Dolphins letting Tannehill loose this offseason, indirectly pointing to the Bengals potentially moving on from the Andy Dalton era. Every year that Cincinnati fails to win a playoff game brings the pitchforks and torches out for “The Red Rifle”.

Depending on how much stock one takes in national pundits, where there is smoke, there is fire. For instance, Benjamin Allbright more than hinted at a Tannehill-Taylor reunion multiple times on Twitter since the regular season ended.

But, recently, we received an email from Jason in Germany, talking about Derek Carr landing in Cincinnati. At first blush, it sounds like chatter that could make one fit for a straight jacket.

However, when one begins to connect the dots, a Carr-to-Cincinnati swap actually makes a bit of sense. First, as Jason points out, Jon Gruden seemed to have been enamored with Duke quarterback Daniel Jones while coaching down at the Senior Bowl.

This, of course came on the heels of multiple rumors of Gruden and Carr having a fractured relationship since the veteran coach’s re-arrival back in Oakland this offseason.

While the proposal terms could definitely be argued, it’s the Dalton-for-Carr swap-out that raises eyebrows.

The teams could swap draft picks (i.e. 24 for 11), for Oakland to move up to acquire their ‘QB of the future’, for a second rounder this year, plus a first-rounder next year. In exchange, we ship Dalton to Oakland as a ‘bridge’ QB and throw in Burfict (since Guenther might know how to use him in their defense) or Kirkpatrick. The Raiders stand a better chance of nabbing their guy, while keeping some of their draft picks and rebuilding. While the Bengals get a proven QB with a strong arm for the deep throws, missing for the last several years + the picks to regroup and rebuild. Sounds like a deal?

The Gruden-Jones rumors aside, there is also a dot to be connected with Carr and incoming offensive coordinator, Brian Callahan. The former 2016 NFL MVP nominee and the young coordinator worked together last year in Oakland. The Raiders could once again be in contract-shedding mode that reared its head last season in their ridding of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper—two former top-five overall picks.

There are a couple of issues with a Carr shipment to The Queen City, production roller coasters notwithstanding. If it’s a trade Jason wants that ends up taking place, a $22.5 million cap number in 2019 (which is $6.5 million higher than Dalton’s this year) is a tough pill to swallow for a guy who some feel has regressed over the past couple of seasons.

On one hand, Carr would provide a marginal improvement, if any, from Dalton. After peaking a couple of years ago, he’s become a check-down king, of sorts, not really changing the game for the better in Oakland. This year’s Week 15 clash proved as much.

However, those who consistently reside in the Dalton camp could potentially point to Carr being re-surrounded by ample talent in a quarterback-friendly system. When Dalton has had a stable crew around him, he’s delivered with some great statistical seasons and Carr could very well do the same after his experiencing of a fleecing of the Raiders’ roster in recent years.

More than anything, though, this points to two undeniable factors.

First, as evidenced in Super Bowl LIII, it takes an elite coach and/or quarterback to win a Lombardi Trophy. Tom Brady won his sixth ring in nine tries and that kind of success is downright impossible to replicate at the professional level.

Secondly, it once again points to the weakness of the 2019 rookie quarterback class. Whether the Bengals stick with Dalton, or make a move to either Tannehill or Carr, it would further the perception that there is a lack of a franchise-changing signal-caller in this year’s crop.

As it stands, there are two routes for Taylor’s new regime being ushered into Cincinnati when it begins this week. One is in a band-aid in the form of a veteran—either those who are in the building or not. The other is in a trial of a young, unproven guy(s), whether its in this year’s draft or in the years ahead.

If it’s the former and Taylor’s answer is Carr, expectations should be tempered. The ceiling is probably what Dalton showed in 2015, with the floor being what No. 14 has given us in the doldrum years of 2016-2018, whether or not that’s entirely his fault.

If you’re unable to join us live for here at Cincy Jungle or YouTube every episode, all Orange and Black Insider content is available here on CJ, the Stitcher and Google Play Music apps, our YouTube channel, as well as through Megaphone and, as always, on iTunes! You can tweet us @BengalsOBI or get in touch with us via email at theobinsider@gmail.com. Thanks for listening and go subscribe to our channels!