How the Bengals flipped the QB script with Ryan Finley and other random NFL Draft thoughts

Credit: Grant Halverson

Credit: Grant Halverson

The NFL draft never lacks drama, does it? Here are some random thoughts from a couple of local perspectives: 

  • The Cincinnati Bengals draft is a great example of why it makes sense to let things come to completion before putting a reaction in ink. The first two nights were really not impressive, but they pretty much made up for it completely with the third day as far as I'm concerned. Let's start at the beginning…
  • On the first night of the draft, the Bengals had three good options (trade down, take Dwayne Haskins or take a great-looking OT) at No. 11 and took the least-appealing one (but came out looking a lot smarter than several teams, starting with the Cardinals and Giants).
  • Passing on Haskins made me feel this way: The team needs to have an eye on the future but clearly doesn't. I did not favor using extra draft capital to get a quarterback, but when one fell to them they should have taken advantage. Yes they must shore up the offensive line to be better this year, and Jonah Williams can be a building block for the future, but what are they building for? They're not starting over. They think they can be at least decent this season, I guess, but at what point is the QB decision going to be made? This was as good a time as any to check off that box but it's now clear more than ever that box isn't even on their sheet. In passing on Haskins, the Bengals gave fans another reason to tune out for the near future. It's says the team doesn't know what it's doing in the short term, imperiling the long term as well. 
  • This is why "Random Thoughts" is not a daily or especially hourly feature because they made a move early Saturday to get Ryan Finley of N.C. State. That works against my theory they have no idea they need to at least think about what comes after Andy Dalton as they A) Picked one of the handful of QBs who seems to have a higher ceiling than "career backup," and B) Showed some urgency in making sure they got him.
  • I am not big on tanking, which is why I think the Bengals needed to try to find a potential Dalton replacement this year. They have been marginally rebuilding for three years. If they had a better quarterback, it would have been less obvious. (They would be more like the Packers or Panthers.) They had greater needs for the 2019 season, but nothing they can plausibly do between now and August is going to make them a threat to do anything in January. With a developmental quarterback in place (and I view just about every quarterback, including Haskins, as a developmental quarterback as a rookie), they can still take a shot at being decent this year but more importantly be more ready to be really good in another year or two when the roster reboot that started after the playoff debacle in Pittsburgh is done.
  • You have to have a great roster to win with Dalton. He proved over the last three seasons he doesn't make bad rosters decent or decent rosters good. Having a decent quarterback is better than having a bad one, but the problem with planning long term to win with a guy who requires a great roster to succeed is great rosters are as susceptible as any other to getting hurt and the NFL's CBA makes maintaining depth at multiple positions nearly impossible.
  • Beyond Finley, Michael Jordan was a great value pick in the fourth round, they added depth at DT, LB and CB plus another running back was a need, so it was a productive draft overall. Of course I've seen Jordan play a lot more than the average draft pick, and he feels more like a potential second or third round pick. He's got the measurables and is still relatively young for an offensive lineman (only three years out of high school).

>>RELATED: 7 things to know about the Bengals drafting Buckeyes

  • I was skeptical at first but that new Backstreet Boys song fits in perfectly with the other bad pop songs on The Highway.
  • Related: Nashville hosting the draft but the song that got the most play being a hip-hop song that is both better and more country than just about anything else on country radio in the last three or four years is both hilarious and fitting.
  • Meanwhile, if the Ohio State football playlist is any indication, hip-hop is in about as bad a slump as country music right now. Woof.
  • OK, back to the draft: I'm sure Nick Bosa wanted to be the No. 1 overall pick, but one of the bonuses of Kyler Murray Mania was a relative lack of stories about Bosa's allegedly controversial handful of tweets. The New York Times could not resist, though, producing a piece that was honestly much more contrived and poorly conceived than I had even imagined possible. The inexplicable comparison of Bosa sending a handful of questionable tweets to Jameis Winston having been accused of raping another Florida State student (along with other off-field missteps of far less importance) is obviously beyond the pail, but the parallels to Colin Kaepernick that are a bigger part of the narrative also miss the mark pretty badly.
  • No matter what you think about the former 49ers quarterback's message or how/when he chooses to express it, he has clearly put a lot more thought into it than a college student sending a few tweets about music, movies or politics. Lumping them together is quite frankly a major insult to Kaepernick as it seriously marginalizes his actions and cause. To do so is not only mind-numbingly simplistic, it is also an example of how deep into our bubble we get in the media at (far too many) times and how badly we overemphasize what happens on Twitter.
  • Nonetheless, it seems Bosa's handling of the situation after being drafted by the 49ers has been well-received.
  • As for Haskins, I'm still kind of surprised at the caution many seem to be taking with the Ohio State quarterback. If you're realistic about the whole process and realize there are few if any sure things in the is his potential off the charts. I mean this guy is the prototypical modern NFL quarterback on and off the field and the general reaction seems to be, "Meh." Of course he would be a "safer" pick if he had more game experience, but that is a double-edged sword.
  • Another thought that is relevant for draft week but isn't confined to sports: I continue to be amazed at how many people whose job relies on rhetoric and public relations have no idea how to create, understand, interpret, etc. rhetoric and public relations.

"Random Thoughts" is a semi-regular feature here at my blog. While most of our other coverage is concentrated on news and analysis, this is a place to share opinions and have some fun. Have your own thoughts? Send them along to or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

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