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Ryan Finley Benching Says A Lot About Bengals Draft Plans

CINCINNATI, OHIO - NOVEMBER 24:  Ryan Finley #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Buck up Chase Young, you might not have to stay in Ohio after all. Not that Ohio is a bad state. More like the Bengals are a bad organization, one a potentially-transcendent player like Young needs no part of. Want further proof? Check out the quarterback turmoil they're currently embroiled in.

In Week 10, the Bengals benched veteran Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback in favor of rookie Ryan Finley. That move didn't make sense at the time, because Dalton was clearly not the issue in Cincinnati.

Now, just three weeks later, they're going back to Dalton, which is slightly awkward considering the veteran asked to be traded after being benched. Now he's being thrown back into the fire to replace a rookie who never should have been starting in the first place.

Meanwhile, the floundering Bengals continue to lose games like they're the 2008 Lions or 2017 Browns and should be picking first in the upcoming NFL Draft. And that, my friends, is the only interesting question about them at this point: Who will the Bengals select at No. 1?

Young is seemingly the universal top draft prospect at this point. The Ohio State defensive end aleady has 16.5 sacks this year and has looked dominant against other NFL-level offensive linemen (RE: Penn State and Wisconsin, which he had seven combined sacks against).

And yet quarterback is the most important position in the NFL and the Bengals clearly have no answer there right now. Dalton is an impending free agent and must want out of stripes after the way the franchise treated him this year (I mean, he asked for a trade, so him leaving would surprise no one). Finley looked lost in his three games, completing 47.1 percent of his throws and fumbling the ball four times to go along with two picks. So it stands to reason the Bengals will look to draft the future of their franchise this year?

Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa are the top quarterback prospects in this year's draft. While Tagovailoa's hip injury complicates matters for any team evaluating him, all three of these players are NFL-ready and would be an upgrade over Finley, who the Bengals selected with a fourth-round pick last year. Perhaps they draft a QB, sign a veteran and have the three of them battle it out for two spots?

Of course, Young is, a transcendent talent, at least at the college level, and passing up a player like him isn't easy. But based on the Bengals' current quarterback situation, it's reasonable to assume they'll want to develop a player for years to come in a division that already has two of the most intriguing young quarterbacks in the league (Lamar Jackson [Ravens], Baker Mayfield [Browns]). After all, the NFL is a copycat league, so mimicking what the Browns and Ravens are doing isn't a bad idea.