Don't be surprised if the Bengals decide to take a quarterback high in this year's draft. With Bengals coach Marvin Lewis acting as if the team is ready to prepare as if Carson Palmer won't be their long-term quarterback, new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is kicking the tires at some of the draft's top prospects.
Gruden's brother, Jon, never drafted a quarterback higher than the third round in his seven seasons as Tampa Bay's head coach. But Jay may change all that. Palmer has expressed his discontent with the Bengals and wants to be traded.
"That’s one thing if Jon could go back and do over. I don’t think we had a lot of money to get a free-agent guy. If he could go back in time he’d try to draft a young stud and develop him," Jay Gruden said, per Geoff "Butch" Hobson of Bengals.com. "Get a Matt Ryan and an Aaron Rodgers and build around him. Now those teams don’t have to draft that. They can go linemen and receivers and get stronger and stronger. If you don’t have that you might have to go two or three draft picks or two or three free agents before you find him."
The top two quarterbacks might be available when the Bengals pick fourth overall, especially if Cam Newton slips. He didn't have a great workout today at the Scouting Combine, so his stock may have fallen. Blaine Gabbert of Missouri is the other top-ranked quarterback who figures to go in the top 10.
"I want to know if he can lead our team and has any type of charisma," Gruden said of how a quarterback operates around his teammates. "Is he a boring guy in the huddle mumbling? I want a guy who can speak up and people can rally around; that’s half the battle right there. You have to at least sell that you're good and you believe that the play can work even though it may not. You have to at least make other people believe in you. That’s the most important thing. Whether or not he is reading the same way I would teach read is not important as long as he has a general idea about defenses and progressions, which 90 percent can do. I want to see their charisma and leadership skills and how they communicate."