Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has said he is acting as if the team will be without Carson Palmer in 2011. That thinking was evident Friday as the Bengals selected former TCU quarterback Andy Dalton with the third pick, 35th overall, in the NFL Draft’s second round.
“It’s an important pick and an important piece,” Lewis said to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “From all of the time we spent with these guys, Andy Dalton really stood out. We’re excited about him moving forward.”
Dalton had been in high regard with the Bengals’ staff ever since they held a workout for him.
“You could see what kind of leader he was.” Lewis said. “It was amazing watching [Bengals offensive coaches] take him through the plays and throws, and how he was very quick with it. He has great anticipation of the throws. He does a great job with his lower body and his movement in the pocket. The ball is so accurate. It’s almost like he’s handing the receiver the ball at times.” FANTASY ANALYSIS: In one year, the starring faces of the Bengals’ offense have been changed from Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco to Dalton and A.J. Green. Dan LeFevour and Carson’s younger brother, Jordan, are also on Cincy’s QB depth chart, but Dalton will have a clear opportunity to gain the starting job from day one and should get barring an injury or epically bad showing in training camp. He’s not physically imposing and doesn’t have elite arm strength, but the Bengals think he is perfect for their West Coast offense. He’ll have some learning to do coming from TCU’s spread, but one of Dalton’s strongest attributes is his intelligence. I don’t expect too much from him right away — the Bengals will lean heavily on their run game next season — but those in keeper leagues should take notice; this offense, with Dalton and Green, is back on the rise.