There’s no question that the Bengals are going to scout the top quarterbacks in the April 25-27 draft.
The question is, are they going to draft him on April 26 or April 27?
They continue the process Friday, when Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Bengals will work out Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel in Tallahassee. And it would be no surprise if Manuel is one of the 30 prospects they’ve scheduled for a Paul Brown Stadium visit before the draft.
There isn’t anybody the Bengals are not checking out at this stage. At any position. Anybody, at least, that’s got a shot of being drafted and they’re also looking at guys they’ll end up signing after the draft in the mold of Vontaze Burfict, Emmanuel Lamur and Jeromy Miles.
The Bengals have somebody at every pro day. While head coach Marvin Lewis stalked the North Carolina sidelines with East Coast scout Greg Seamon this week, the same day new assistant secondary coach Adam Zimmer was at the University of Connecticut.
(Odds are the Bengals won’t draft a guy from either place, but here’s where we’ll make our pitch for Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard.)
But the only way the Bengals would get Manuel is if he free-falls into the third round.
No one thinks the Bengals are going to take a quarterback with one of their first three picks in the first two rounds, knowing how they have felt about those picks in the past. They’re going to want those guys to come in and start. Or, at the very least, play regularly.
The third round figures to the first time the Bengals start even gazing at the QBs and given they are usually over-drafted, particularly in a lean year, it could be fairly picked over.
But the Bengals aren’t looking for a Manuel-type to come in and eventually be a starter. They’re looking to support Andy Dalton with better competition and a young guy talented enough that they can develop who can come in and win games off the bench if need be. A future Ryan Fitzpatrick, perhaps, a seventh-rounder in 2005.
If the Bengals draft a guy that’s not ready, then they could go back to keeping three QBs instead of two to develop him without fear of him getting plucked from the practice squad and keep up the hunt for a veteran that began with the Josh Johnson signing.
But Dalton himself is part of that influx the past two seasons that shows rookie QBs don’t have to be treated like some delicate experiment in a Petri dish that can’t be exposed to harsh light for a year. The Redskins got two wins off the bench from fourth-rounder Kirk Cousins just this past season.
Browns quarterback Colt McCoy is trade bait now, but it’s highly doubtful the Bengals would give up a draft pick for him. If he gets released it could be interesting, but they’ve also been cautious with players that have a history of concussions and he has a storied one.
So we know the Bengals will work them out, but when will they take him? April 26 ends with the third round, April 27 has all the rest.
Tags: Adam Zimmer, Colt McCoy, E.J. Manuel, Greg Seamon, Marvin Lewis, Ryan Fitzpartrick
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