Bengals head coach Zac Taylor went undrafted out of Nebraska in 2007, but he has a lot of experience with quarterbacks drafted in the first round.
Taylor’s first NFL coaching job came with the Dolphins in 2012 and he worked with rookie Ryan Tannehill after Miami selected him with the eighth overall pick. Taylor would leave Miami after the 2015 season and he returned to the NFL in 2017 as the Rams’ quarterback coach. He worked with 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff in that job and there’s been some speculation that the Bengals could start the clock on replacing Andy Dalton by taking a quarterback with the 11th pick this year.
There obviously wasn’t a hint from Taylor about the validity of that speculation when he spoke to reporters last week, but he did say that no one should ever be surprised by a quarterback going early in the draft.
“I don’t think I’m ever surprised at how high the quarterbacks go,” Taylor said. “There could be a lot of teams that often times don’t have a lot of first-round grades on guys that are going in the first round, and that’s just the nature of the business. It’s a critical position, so that doesn’t ever surprise me.”
Taylor was also asked about Goff going from a rough rookie year to a successful second year after a change of coaches, offensive systems and much of the supporting cast. He said it is “hard for a rookie to come in and play,” especially if the system isn’t the right fit for their ability.
Andy Dalton is on hand for the Bengals, but they haven’t committed to extending his contract this offseason. If they identify a quarterback who fits in their system this year, that extension probably won’t be coming at any point in the future either.