5 reasons drafting QB would make sense for the Bengals

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 10:28 AM

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals warms up prior to their game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 21: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals warms up prior to their game against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)(Michael Chang/Getty Images)

Before we get started, let me say two things.

First: I doubt the Bengals will draft Lamar Jackson even though I believe it could make them better in the long run. 

Second: I am always a proponent of sitting a quarterback early in his career. Perhaps that makes the Bengals and Jackson a more natural fit in my eyes than someone else’s. 

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Admittedly, this is more a fun thought experiment than anything else, but I believe there is a case to be made for Cincinnati looking to Louisville for its quarterback for the future, especially if things break just right. 

It could even be consistent with their general philosophy for drafting during the Marvin Lewis era, depending on what kind of grade they give Jackson after evaluating him. 

1. Putting aside position, this is the kind of pick the Bengals love to make. 

The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has the physical tools, but they need some refining. 

That means he won’t go No. 1 overall even though he might have top pick ability. 

The Bengals are all about value picks like that for reasons both practical and monetary. 

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That’s certainly why they tabbed Joe Mixon with their No. 2 pick last year and probably why they picked John Ross even though receiver was low on their list of needs.  

No question this inspired the selection of Cedric Ogbuehi a couple of years earlier as he had slid because of an injury, too, not to mention how they ended up with numerous other players both via the draft and free agency. 

So Jackson could make some sense to them in real life along those lines. 

2. The Bengals are in a great position to develop him. 

They have a capable quarterback in Andy Dalton, but he is coming off a year in which he ranked in the bottom third of quarterbacks in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. 

Even if you want to explain that away by saying he didn’t have enough help, I would counter it’s still fairly clear the position isn’t being maximized. 

There are other quarterbacks who have played as long as he has who handled a lack of help better, Aaron Rodgers probably being the best example. Plus the Bengals collection of skill players is still pretty good. 

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Then you might say, “Well Andy Dalton isn’t Aaron Rodgers, but he can still be a productive player.” 

That is true, but shouldn’t the team strive to have a quarterback as good as Aaron Rodgers as much as it reasonably can? 



3. Their current starter has a team-friendly contract. 

According to OverTheCap.com, Dalton is set to be the 18th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL this year (he will drop as more sign, too), and they aren’t on the hook for a lot of guaranteed money if they decide to release him before his contract is up. 

Teams looking for stop-gap starters who also plan to draft a quarterback of the future are likely to end up paying more for the former than the Bengals are going to pay Dalton this year, so why shouldn’t the team consider taking a shot at a talent like Jackson?

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The Bengals can hedge their bets on Dalton by drafting a high-ceiling quarterback who either A) Doesn’t work out, which also happens with a lot of other draft picks, B) Becomes a reliable backup, which is important, C) Ends up being better than what they have. 

Those are pretty good options to me. 

4. Jackson could learn a lot by watching. 

At Louisville, Jackson did enough from a playbook perspective there is good reason to believe he can handle all the general things an NFL quarterback does, but like pretty much all young quarterbacks, it won’t come together for him overnight. 

For as powerful as his arm is, he has some mechanical issues that need to be cleaned up, and that can be done on the practice field. 

It will need to be because right now he is a big-play threat, but he needs to be able to take all the layups that will be presented to him in order to move the chains and be an efficient quarterback. 

I don’t know if he can make enough precise throws from the pocket necessary to thrive in the NFL yet, but that should come with time and work on his lower body (many quarterbacks coaches would rather mess with this than the actual throwing motion). 

Jackson is probably so explosive he can get by early in his career just on raw ability, a la Mike Vick, but I need more than that. 

If he has complete mastery of the playbook and some of the more nuanced things that go into being a quarterback, he could be in position to excel as soon as he gets the job rather than having to do what he can just to survive, which inevitably also includes a high risk of injury if he has to scramble frequently. 

5. The point of the draft is to get the most players with the most talent. 

If the Bengals reach a point where Jackson is the most talented player on the board when they are picking, they should take him. 

That would be consistent with the way they have drafted throughout the Marvin Lewis era, a philosophy of taking the best player available that has helped them at times and hurt them others.

At worst, Jackson could be a Kordell Stewart-like change-of-pace player even if he never evolves into Steve Young. 

At best, he becomes a star and they can release Dalton without a huge cap hit. 

The 12th pick might be too high for the Bengals to select Jackson, but maybe they like him enough to trade back into the first round after grabbing a sorely needed offensive tackle. Maybe if he somehow slides to the second round, they decide that’s too good to be true and make the call then. 

Maybe they don’t do any of those things… no matter how much sense it might make. 

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Former Buckeyes try to enjoy themselves during pressures of Pro Day

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 8:56 PM

Ohio State Pro Day: J.T. Barrett interview

The stars came out Thursday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center — the stars that wore scarlet and gray last fall and the ones who stalk NFL sidelines on Sundays.

Five NFL head coaches plus four defensive coordinators and two general managers — and 140 NFL representatives in all — attended Ohio State's annual Pro Day. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watched 17 players work out, as did Mike Tomlin, of the Steelers, Matt Patricia, of the Lions, and Mike Zimmer, of the Vikings.

» RELATED: Ohio State still evaluating quarterbacks in spring practices

The players seemed to enjoy the attention despite the stress that came with it. All hope to hear their names called during the NFL Draft April 26-28. Some are locks. Some have to prove themselves in these workouts.

"It's been amazing," said linebacker Jerome Baker, who left Ohio State with one year of eligibility remaining. "I live by the motto, 'I'm living my best life.' That's exactly what I'm doing. Everyone makes it seem like this process is so stressful and so non-fun. You're about to go to the next level. You might as well as have fun. You got to this point because you're good at what you do."

» RELATED: Changes coming to NFL Draft broadcast

NFL.com predicts Baker will be picked in the second or third round. His former teammate, quarterback J.T. Barrett, may not hear his name called until the seventh round if he gets drafted at all, but he showed his arm in front of scouts at Pro Day.

"I was just trying to enjoy it," Barrett said. "That's the main thing. It comes and goes pretty fast. You don't want to get too wrapped up in and not enjoy it. It was a good day. Solid. I wish I had a couple of throws back, but that's part of it, even in a game."

Ohio State Pro Day: Billy Price interview(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

One Ohio State prospect with a strong chance of being selected in the first or second round didn't work out. Center Billy Price remains sidelined by a incomplete pectoral tear, which he suffered at the NFL Combine on March 1. Price watched his teammates run sprints and perform drills Thursday and said his injury isn't a serious concern.

"It's not going to be an issue," Price said. "I should be good by June. I'll be bench pressing and be at full strength again."

» HARTMAN: Ohio State offense could be explosive in 2018

Another Buckeye expected to go in the early rounds is defensive end Sam Hubbard, who had 2½ sacks in his final college game in December, the Cotton Bowl victory against Southern California. He said he wanted to reinforce what the coaches have seen of him on tape in his workout.

"I was happy to go out there and do that," Hubbard said. "It's a lot of motivation to go as hard as you possibly can, especially when you've got guys like Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick coaching you up. It was an incredible experience."

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Antetokounmpo thanks Dayton after deciding to ‘start a new chapter’

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 8:10 PM

Dayton's Kostas Antetokounmpo dunks against George Washington's Yuta Watanabe on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at UD Arena.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
Dayton's Kostas Antetokounmpo dunks against George Washington's Yuta Watanabe on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at UD Arena.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

Kostas Antetokounmpo announced his departure from the University of Dayton on Twitter on Thursday night, hours after an official press release by the university.

Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman forward, plans to explore his options in the NBA, Dayton coach Anthony Grant said Thursday. He left school with six weeks left in the semester.

Antetokounmpo spent two years at UD. He committed to Dayton in June 2016 three days after visiting the campus. He ranked 89th in the class of 2016, according to Rivals.com.

In October 2016, the NCAA ruled Antetokounmpo a partial qualifier, and he wasn’t able to play in his freshman season. He started practicing with the team in January 2017. He missed most of the summer workouts and preseason practices because of an injury he suffered in Greece but was healthy by the start of the season and appeared in 29 games, averaging 5.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

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Photo gallery: Marion Local D-IV boys state semifinal win

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 7:31 PM

Marion Local senior Tyler Mescher addresses a 56-54 defeat of Pandora-Gilboa in a boys high school basketball D-IV state semifinal at OSU on Thursday, March 22, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Marion Local defeated Pandora-Gilboa 56-54 in a boys high school basketball Division IV state semifinal at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center on Thursday, March 22.

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Marion Local (24-4) will play Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (21-7) in the D-IV state championship at 10:45 a.m. Saturday also at the Schott.

Marion Local players celebrate. Marion Local defeated Pandora-Gilboa 56-54 in a D-IV boys high school basketball state semifinal at OSU’s Schottenstein Center on Thursday, March 22, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

»RELATED: Ahrens, Barhorst earn top D-IV boys honors

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»RELATED: Boys state final four pairings

»RELATED: Girls state final four results

The following is a photo gallery of the Flyers.

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

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Bruns’ late heroics leads Marion Local in D-IV state semifinal win

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:14 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

Marion Local junior Nathan Bruns addresses a 56-54 defeat of Pandora-Gilboa in a boys high school basketball D-IV state semifinal at OSU in Columbus on Thu., March 22, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Nathan Bruns scored Marion Local’s final five points as the Flyers edged newcomer Pandora-Gilboa 56-54 in a Division IV boys high school basketball state semifinal on Thursday.

The win sends Marion Local (24-4) into Saturday’s D-IV state championship at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center against Willoughby Cornerstone Christian (21-7) at 10:45 a.m. Cornerstone advanced with a 51-41 defeat of Berlin Hiland in Thursday’s opening D-IV semi at the Schott.

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That sets up a rare shot at a state championship double-double for the Flyers. The Midwest Athletic Conference power also won a D-VI state football championship last December.

Scoreless in the first half, Bruns scored 15 points in the second half to lead the Flyers to their 12th straight win. None were more crucial than his last five.

»RELATED: Rams’ opposing coach, ‘They’re crazy athletic’

»RELATED: Ahrens, Barhorst earn top D-IV boys honors

Tyler Mescher’s 17 points led Marion Local in scoring. Trailing by two, he missed two free throws with 2:11 left. However, Bruns snared the rebound, hit a field goal and converted a free throw for a 3-point play that would give the Flyers the lead for good, but not without some anxious moments.

Following a steal, Gilboa was in great position for a final shot, but missed. Bruns rebounded the miss and converted two free throws.

»RELATED: Trotwood-Madison back to final four

»RELATED: Boys state final four pairings

Ahead by three, the Flyers deliberately sent Jared Breece to the line with 5.2 seconds left. He converted the first to account for the final score. On the second he bashed off the rim, but the play was ruled dead. Marion Local successfully inbounded the ball and the celebration was on.

Drew Johnson had a game-high 24 points to lead Pandora-Gilboa (26-2), including 19 in the first half. Breece added 16 points.

»RELATED: Moeller bumps Wayne off tourney trail

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Marion Local will be shooting for its third boys state basketball title, joining the 2003 and 1975 Flyers’ teams. It also is Marion Local’s fifth state final four. It was the first final four for Pandora-Gilboa, out of the Blanchard Valley Conference and Putnam County League.

Cornerstone Christian 51, Berlin Hiland 41: Michael Bothwell, the D-IV state player of the year, scored 22 points in leading the Willoughby power. This is the second final four for the Patriots, who won a D-IV 

state title in 2016. Hiland finished 23-6.

»RELATED: Boys regional results

»RELATED: Girls state final four results

• Upper Arlington senior Dane Goodwin was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association on Wednesday. The son of former University of Dayton hall of famer and Capital men’s coach Damon Goodwin, Dane averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Golden Bears.

A four-year starter, he initially verbally committed to OSU but signed with Notre Dame after Thad Matta resigned with the Buckeyes.


Thursday’s D-IV semifinal results

Willoughby Cornerstone Christian 51, Berlin Hiland 41

Marion Local 56, Pandora-Gilboa 54

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