Does Andy Dalton Starting Give the Bengals the Inside Track to 2012 Top Pick?


Carson Palmer is done in Cincinnati, and so are Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson (in all likelihood). The Bengals are going to be one of the teams in the NFL going with the “Youth Movement” mantra for the 2011 season, and it starts at the quarterback position with rookie Andy Dalton, a second round pick whom head coach Marvin Lewis says could start this season:

“Well that’s something we are going to have to see what happens and how it plays out,” Lewis told ESPN 101, per “But there’s no question when we selected Andy Dalton we selected him with that in mind that he’d possibly be our opening day starting quarterback.”

With Dalton as the potential starting quarterback and A.J. Green as the number one receiver as a rookie, this team has the feel of what the Cleveland Browns did last year when they brought in Colt McCoy, though the Bengals’ troubles on the depth chart don’t end at quarterback and wide receiver. This team also has a huge void at the running back position, and even (in my opinion) if Cedric Benson comes back. I think Benson has done a fine job for the Bengals, but he’s a free agent and wasn’t great last year at all.

The Bengals could look to some backs in free agency, but they didn’t draft one until they picked up Jay Finley in the seventh round, and it’s highly unlikely he emerges this offseason as the starting tailback.

This season will be a true testament to the coaching abilities of Marvin Lewis and his staff. The Bengals are a team with holes all over both sides of the ball, specifically the aforementioned positions as well as safety. A team that was almost unbeatable in the division just two years ago might now be the worst team in the NFL, not because of a lack of personnel, but because a lack of developed personnel on both sides of the ball.