Bengals 2017 Draft Analysis: Quarterback

NOTE: Starting Thursday April 20 and running through the first day of the NFL Draft, Thursday, April 27, will be taking a position-by-position look at the Bengals draft needs, starting with the quarterback position. Each breakdown will include who is currently on the roster, what round the Bengals are likely to make a selection at that position group, some names associated with those rounds and the top five players at each position according to

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - One of the big questions concerning the Bengals heading into the 2017 NFL Draft is whether or not they should trade backup AJ McCarron.

I have gone on record multiple times this offseason starting in mid-January saying why it's a bad idea and why it probably won't happen, unless the Bengals are completely wowed by an offer (at minimum second-round and fourth-round picks).

The bottom line is the organization believes it has the talent to bounce back and make the playoffs and having a capable backup quarterback is a great safety net if something happens to starter Andy Dalton. It's just not easy to grab a veteran castoff and assume they will provide the necessary insurance at such a vital position. Those veterans are castoffs for a reason. It's also unreasonable to think a rookie, especially one that will likely be picked in a later round, can provide that necessary insurance either.

The other part to the equation is the Bengals can give McCarron a tender offer in the offseason that could net them a first-round pick if a team signed him.

The Bengals have plenty of picks in this year's draft and, with it being a season in which Marvin Lewis likely needs to win a playoff game or else, I believe the Bengals will hang on to McCarron.

Dalton is coming the two best seasons of his career. He was in the midst of his best season in 2015 (106.2 rating, which ranked second in the NFL) before breaking his thumb in the 13th game of the season at which point McCarron stepped in quite capably - not good enough to unseat Dalton by any means, but he proved he could play and be successful. Last season, Dalton overcame not having standout wide receiver A.J. Green for the final seven games and standout tight end Tyler Eifert for half the season and still posted the second-highest rating of his career (91.8).

Here is a breakdown of the quarterback position and the Bengals need there heading into the NFL Draft:

On the roster: Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron, Jeff Driskel.

Likely round Bengals will select a quarterback: 5th or later and possibly not at all.

5 names to watch pertaining to those rounds and round they are graded (according to Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (5th or 6th round); C.J. Beatherd, Iowa (6th); Chad Kelly, Mississippi (7th); Alex Torgerson, Pennsylvania (7th); Jerod Evans, Virgina Tech (7th).

5 highest rated quarterbacks overall and round they are graded (according to 1, Mitchell Trubisky, North Carolina (1st round); 2, Deshaun Watson, Clemson (1st); 3, DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame (1st or 2nd); 4, Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech (1st or 2nd); 5, Davis Webb, California (3rd).

The Skinny: Even if the Bengals trade McCarron they aren't going to spend a high pick on a quarterback.

Kelly is intriguing, because he was very productive in college, but has some off-field baggage (he was kicked off Clemson's team in the spring of 2014 after arguing with coaches; was arrested in a bar fight and was involved in a fight at his brother's high school game) and injury issues. His senior season at Ole Miss ended with a torn ACL, which prevented him from competing at the Senior Bowl, and a wrist injury forced him to cut short his pro day workout and he subsequently underwent surgery to repair it.

The Bengals could take him late in the draft and basically stash him on the reserve/non-injury football list, because the injuries occurred before he entered the NFL. That's what they did when they took McCarron in the fifth round of the 2014 draft despite a sore shoulder from college and put him on the reserve/non-football injury list as a rookie, which basically gave him a redshirt year.

Dobbs and Evans are dual-threat players who were productive passers as well as runners in college.


  • 1. Pick 9 overall
  • 2. Pick 41 overall
  • 3. Pick 73 overall
  • 4. Pick 116 overall
  • 4. Pick 138 overall (compensatory)
  • 5. Pick 153 overall
  • 5. Pick 176 overall (compensatory)
  • 6. Pick 193 overall
  • 6. Pick 217 overall (compensatory)
  • 7. Pick 227 overall
  • 7. Pick 251 overall (compensatory)


  • April 20: Quarterback.
  • April 21: Running back.
  • April 22: Wide receivers/tight ends.
  • April 23: Offensive line.
  • April 24: Defensive line.
  • April 25: Linebacker.
  • April 26: Defensive back and Specialists.
  • April 27: Final Bengals Mock Draft/First round of NFL Draft (starts at 8 p.m.).
  • April 28: Second and third round of NFL Draft (starts at 7 p.m.).
  • April 29: Remainder of NFL Draft (starts at noon)

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