Andy Dalton was the fifth quarterback taken in last week’s NFL draft. Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden thinks Dalton was the best of the bunch at doing what his offense requires.
“What impresses me is the location of the throws. He gives his guy a chance to run after the catch,” Gruden told Bengals.com. “That’s very important throwing to backs, throwing to [Jermaine] Gresham, throwing to A.J. Green. A big part of these guys’ strength is the ability to run after the catch. This offense, if we do throw shorter passes, four, five yards, we’re throwing it to a location so they can catch and run. I think this guy does the best job of anybody in the draft, in my opinion, of doing that. I’m not saying nobody else can’t. I just thought he was the best one at it.”
Gruden’s comments echo those of Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who said he thinks Dalton is ready to start for the Bengals right now. That’s good, because if Carson Palmer follows through on his promise never to play in Cincinnati again, the Bengals may have no other good options.
The knock on Dalton in some quarters was that he didn’t have a strong enough arm and lacked the ability to throw the deep ball, but Gruden said he thinks accuracy is what matters, and arm strength is an afterthought.
“It’s so overrated, it’s stupid,” Gruden said.
If Gruden is right, it was stupid of a lot of other teams to pass on Dalton in the first round.