Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cincinnati Bengals were smart, they’d push all their chips into the middle and trade up during the 2019 NFL Draft for Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

The big picture: Andy Dalton is not the answer. It’s time the Bengals realized this and moved on.

  • One of the league’s most consistently mediocre teams, Cincinnati has never won a playoff game with Dalton.
  • Dalton is about as exciting and effective as warmed-up, day-old oatmeal. He is a career 62.3 percent passer and has actually gotten worse the past two seasons.
  • A.J. Green deserves better. One of the NFL’s top receivers, he’s had to merely make do over the course of his career. Given a top passer, he could truly thrive.

Why Haskins? A pure pocket passer, Haskins brings plenty to the table.

  • Despite his relative inexperience, he has played in big games, and played his best when the stakes were highest.
  • Haskins broke big Big Ten records last year (passing yards and passing touchdowns), which were previously held by none other than Purdue product, Drew Brees.
  • During the 2018 season, Haskins passed for 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in 14 games.
  • Though not an apples-to-apples comparison, those numbers far exceed anything Dalton has accomplished in a 16-game NFL season.

The Ohio connection: Cincinnati desperately needs to get some positive momentum brewing after so many years in destitution.

  • There’s no better way to get the fan base hyped than bringing in an Ohio State star.

Trade dynamics: Cincinnati currently holds the No. 11 overall pick and would absolutely need to trade up to ensure landing Haskins.

  • Arizona (No. 1 overall) is currently expected by pretty much everyone to take Kyler Murray with the first pick.
  • San Francisco (No. 2 overall) is the ideal trade partner. Any trade up in this scenario, however, would not come cheap.
  • The next-best option would be to hope nobody else trades up with the 49ers, then trade up to No. 3 overall, which is currently owned by the New York Jets — they are open for business.
  • If Haskins is the guy you want, waiting any longer than that to attempt trading up, or just hoping he falls in your lap at No. 11, would just be dumb.

The bottom line: Cincinnati must make a bold move to spark a true revival. Haskins is the player who can make that happen, both in terms of his play on the field, and getting butts in seats.

Jesse Reed
Managing Editor at Sportsnaut. Featured on Yardbarker and, and formerly was a breaking news writer/NFL analyst for Bleacher Report.