Bengaldom is split. Some fans wanted to take Dwayne Haskins in the first round, while others remain loyal to Andy Dalton.
Dalton remains the face of this franchise, but with the performance of Jeff Driskel last season and the Red Rifle’s advancing age the Bengals needed to come out of this draft with a developmental and/or backup quarterback.
They got what they were looking for with North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley.
What Finley brings to the Bengals
Brains: Finley has a deep understanding of the offense he plays in. He makes great pre-snap reads and takes what the defense gives him based on their alignment and leverage. Finley fits the mantra “don’t get bored with success.” If a defense is giving him an advantage, he will continue to take advantage of it until the defense adjusts.
Technique: Many college quarterbacks have funky technique issues that need to be addressed when the get to the NFL. That is not Finley. Both Finley’s footwork and throwing mechanics are immaculate. Since his technique is sound he can dive deep into the playbook from day 1, rather than working on his own mechanics.
Execution: Finley knows how to run an offense efficiently. His passes are always on time, and he has the intelligence and experience to use his eyes to manipulate and move defenders. His balls are generally well-placed, allowing his receivers to pick up additional yardage after the catch.
Ryan Finley back shoulder fade pic.twitter.com/41QNtGKmQ6— Quarterback Film Room (@QBFilmRoom) April 20, 2019
Why the Bengals picked Finley
Needed depth: Jeff Driskel may have made the all-preseason team, but his performance when Dalton went down (and it counted) was troubling. Finley will have a chance to compete for Driskel’s job as second-string quarterback.
Quarterback of the future? Finley checks off a lot of boxes for a potential NFL starter. Dalton has no intention of retiring any time soon, but you never know what could happen. Fingers crossed that Dalton can stay healthy, of course.
Finley could develop into a quarterback who eventually pushes for the starting job or become trade bait for a quarterback hungry team.
The Parcells Rule: This is a somewhat old school style of thinking as is demonstrated by the fact that two of the top-three quarterbacks taken were one-year starters, but legendary head coach Bill Parcells had seven questions that he wanted to be able to say yes to before selecting a quarterback. Finley passes the Parcells test which is broken down below.
- Was he a 3-year starter? Yes. Finley was a 3-year starter for the Wolfpack.
- Was he a senior in college? Yes. Finley is a 6th year senior, having taken both a traditional and medical redshirt at Boise State.
- Did he graduate? Yes. Finley actually graduated from Boise State in 3-years before heading to NC State as a graduate transfer.
- Did he start 30 games? Yes. Finley started 42 games in his collegiate career.
- Did he win 23 games? Yes. Finley has won 25 games in the past 3 seasons with the Wolfpack.
- Did he post a 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio? Yes. Finley threw 63 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in his collegiate career.
- Did he complete at least 60-percent of his passes thrown? Yes. He completed 64.2% of his career pass attempts.