Bengals draft position needs: Quarterback

April, 21, 2014
4/21/14
9:30
AM ET
A day-by-day look this week at five position groups where the Bengals have draft needs. We start with quarterback.

Quarterbacks lost: None

Quarterbacks added: Jason Campbell, via free agency. Was cut by the Browns.

Draft likelihood: High

Rounds drafted? Third or later

Analysis: Some might view Cincinnati's desire to draft a quarterback as a clear sign the team is trying to ignite a fire under Andy Dalton and create a competition. While offensive coordinator Hue Jackson might like to see Dalton get a little more urgency about his job, any additions at the position via the draft will be viewed around Paul Brown Stadium as simply beefing up the team's insurance policy more than anything else. With Dalton's contract extension currently in limbo, the Bengals are positioning themselves just in case something happens in the next several months that won't allow them to re-sign him. To this point in his three-year career, Dalton has been the definition of inconsistency. He's won a lot of games (30), but he's also lost several prime-time battles and hasn't come away with a postseason victory in three trips. It's highly doubtful the Bengals make a move for a quarterback in the first round, even if one of the so-called top-tier signal-callers like Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater is there. A first-round quarterback selection could unintentionally send the wrong message; that the Bengals are trying to rebuild immediately at the position, and that the team no longer considers its 2011 second-round quarterback selection (Dalton) part of its present.

It's much more likely that the Bengals use their first-round pick on solidifying the defense with a safety or corner, or building in the trenches with an offensive or defensive lineman. The quarterback won't likely come until the third round or later, unless a player like Bridgewater or Georgia's Aaron Murray is on the board in the second round and the Bengals feel comfortable about selecting a quarterback there. Since it seems quarterbacks probably are going to slide, though, there ought to be a good option available to the Bengals in the middle rounds. Murray certainly should be there. Tom Savage, a quarterback who isn't known for his mobility but has a big arm, should be there, too, despite his run up the top of some draft boards last week. It's even possible that Bridgewater, the quarterback with the best blend of mobility and arm strength among those the Bengals could take, slips into the middle rounds.

Potential picks: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Aaron Murray (Georgia), Tom Savage (Pittsburgh), AJ McCarron (Alabama), Tajh Boyd (Clemson).

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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