Bengals snag QB Dalton
CINCINNATI — The Bengals have Carson Palmer's replacement.
With their franchise quarterback insisting he wants out, the Bengals took TCU's Andy Dalton in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday night, their second straight pick aimed at replacing one of their most important players.
They took A.J. Green from Georgia with the fourth pick in Thursday's opening round, bringing in a receiver who can take over for Chad Ochocinco, the franchise's all-time leading pass catcher. One round later, they brought in a new quarterback.
"That was good," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We spent a lot of time on this — no question. It's a big, important, important pick, important piece."
Dalton will get the chance to become the next face of one of the NFL's most dysfunctional franchises. The Bengals have posted a winning record just twice in the past 20 years, going through quarterbacks rapidly while continuing to lose.
"He's going to be a great quarterback in this league, in my opinion," new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "He's going to get a lot of opportunity to do that, come in here and compete for the job right away. What else do you want as a rookie quarterback?"
Depending upon what happens with Palmer, Dalton could be running the offense in a few months — a stunning change for a team that made the playoffs only two years ago. The Bengals hit a low point last season, matching the club record by losing 10 in a row and finishing 4-12 with an offense built around Palmer, receivers Ochocinco and Terrell Owens and running back Cedric Benson.
Ochocinco has a year left on his contract but thinks he'll be released. Owens won't be back, and Benson is a free agent.