Since it is pretty obvious the Bengals are going to take a QB rather than be smart and trade for an experienced vetern like a Kolb after the draft or pick one up in free agency which would allow them to go after the top QB prospect that is not even in this year's draft. So if you were sitting in the room what would you do?
Here is what the pundits say: Mallett is a junior that chose to give up his final season of eligibility for the NFL. Mallett is 6'6 and has an absolute cannon for an arm, and he fits the mold of a true gunslinger: He wants to throw it every time, and will try to throw the football throw anything that gets between him and his receiver. Mallett is a pure pocket passer with great size, but with that comes the lack of ideal mobility. He is not a statue in the pocket, but as he gets older and adds some more weight to his frame, he is going to find it tough to escape the rush within the pocket.
According to scouts the biggest thing holding Mallett back at this point is still his decision making. He has some Brett Favre in him, thinking his arm strength will always prevail. He forces throws into coverage. It results in some amazing throws, but also results in game changing mistakes. At the pro level, the mistakes will out number the big plays because tight spaces are even tighter. There are also some questions about his maturity level, so it may be wise for him to have a veteran to mentor him for a bit before stepping onto the field. Mallett appears to have slipped out of the first round, but he has the talent to become a very good starting QB in the NFL.
To add to this: I was impressed with what I saw from Mallett during the Sugar Bowl game against Ohio State - the only game I saw Mallett play last year. Ohio State was really lucky to win that game and should have sent Arkansas's wide receiving corps several fruit baskets for dropping so many touchdowns balls - especially in the first quarter. Mallett was able to get balls to his receivers even under heavy pressure from OSU's pass rush. He has the rare combination of arm strength and size 6'-6 or 6'-7'( depending on what you read)/ 250+ lbs (larger than Big Ben who is 6'-5"/ 240 lbs). His off-field escapades are the only big question mark. But people said the same thing about Dan Marino and his cocaine habit back in 1984. The other big question is how he will respond to falling to the second round. Will he use this as motivation to prove all of the other 31 teams they were wrong or will he fall apart?
Here is what the pundits say: TCU’s Andy Dalton may not possess the overall physical tools of other top QB prospects, but his intelligence, leadership, and accuracy definitely stand out. He eased some concerns about his size when he officially hit 6’2/ 215 at the combine, and has continued to win people over with his football IQ and overall intelligence.
Dalton has a good enough arm to make all the throws, shows some surprising mobility within the pocket, and those traits combined with his ability to lead a team has him looking like a second round pick as well. While he will need to adjust to taking snaps from under center, he could be ready to play early in his career because he possesses every intangible you want in a quarterback, and he’s the type of player you can go to battle with every Sunday.
To add to this: I don't know much about the red wonder since I did not watch one TCU game last year - I can't wait for the NCAA to catch that school for violating NCAA rules. My big concern about Dalton is his size. Will he be able to see the field over an OL/DL that is going to be 3-5" higher than he is? Other sites have also questioned his arm strength. Gruden gets a stiffy anytime he sees his red hair.
Other Top Options Still Available:
1. DE Bowers - Do you draft Odom's replacement to help solidify the DE spot for years to come?
2. LB Justin Houston - At 6'-3" 270 could fill the hole at SLB, but is a prospect.
3. SLB Ayens - Proven SLB in college. Can cover but supposedly has a hard time against the run.
4. CB Harris - Good cover corner.
5. DT Stephen Pea - Noted run stuffer that looks samoan so by default he would be my selection just because he looks samoan.
6. FS Moore - Described as a game changing safety - a big need.
This is a tough question. I know popular demand will say Dalton. I also know that Gruden is in love with Dalton - but we don't even know if we can trust Gruden yet. If I had a gun to my head and had to choose between Mallet or Dalton, I go with Mallett and then immediately hire a councilor to get his head straight.
If it were my call, I think I try to solidify the DL with Bowers who has the ability to defend the run and rush the passer. Matching him up with Atkins and Dunlap on third downs could be scary. I would then follow this up in next years draft with the selection of Luck to get my future franchise QB - since we are going to draft high again next year. If Bowers is off the board, I go with the game changing safety.