The Bengals chose Andy Dalton with the 35th pick in the 2011 NFL draft. The 49ers chose Colin Kaepernick with the 36th pick. With the benefit of hindsight, picking Dalton when Kaepernick was on the board looks like a big mistake for the Bengals.
So whose mistake was it? According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, it was a mistake made by Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. The Enquirer reports that Bengals owner Mike Brown was pushing for Kaepernick, but Gruden said Dalton was the better fit for the Bengals’ offense, and so Brown went along with Gruden’s recommendation.
“I like this guy,” Brown said of Kaepernick, according to the report. “He has unusual mobility.”
Gruden replied, “I want Dalton. He fits what I want to do.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer report came out on Sunday morning, hours before Dalton had a terrible game in throwing away the Bengals’ season against the Chargers, and Kaepernick played well in leading the 49ers to a win over the Packers. If Sunday’s games had gone differently, the contrast between Dalton and Kaepernick wouldn’t be as stark.
But after Sunday, that’s probably a pick that Mike Brown wishes he could have back.