2011 NFL Draft Projections: TCU's Andy Dalton

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton is becoming a fast riser in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft, and has garnered interest from many teams. Particularly with the Cincinnati Bengals and to a lesser extent the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks. Dalton is considered a late first round or early second round choice. There is even talk that the Bengals will try to trade back into the backend of the first round to nab Dalton since they are not sure he will be there at 35 with their second pick.

The Dolphins were very impressed with Dalton when they gave him a playbook to learn with little time to learn:

These days teams are trying to get an edge any way they can. When the Dolphins scheduled an on-campus visit with Dalton for Sunday, April 3, they sent him a portion of their playbook, with their 100-odd formations-motions and shifts and protections, route trees for the receivers. He got the package late on Thursday and was told, Learn this by 10 a.m. on Sunday. Dalton had sessions with the Cowboys all day Friday, then a rehearsal dinner for a friend's wedding that night and the wedding on Saturday night. So he woke early Saturday and crammed all day, and on Sunday morning his fiancée drove him to campus so he could spend another hour studying in the car.

Miami offensive coordinator Brian Daboll stood in front of Dalton with a magnetic board, with six magnets emblematic of the skill players. He'd call out "Flex Right," and Dalton would have to place the magnets in the proper positions on the board. He was also tested on the protections and on where to go with the ball on certain calls. Dalton thinks he aced those tests.

So, that red-head thing may not be true! Who Knew.

The Bengals seem to be the most interested in Dalton and are expected to draft Dalton or Nevada's Colin Kaepernick within the first two rounds. 

The Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is not hiding his love for Dalton:

One quarterback coach I know told me: "It's getting very hard for [Cincinnati offensive coordinator] Jay Gruden to hide how much he loves Andy Dalton."

Hers is a scouting report for Andy Dalton:

Final word: Andy Dalton leaves TCU as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in the team's long history. At the college level he has done everything you could ask of a quarterback. Entering the NFL there are questions about Dalton's arm strength and his "up-side". Many see Dalton and too quickly write him off as a product of a spread system who will not develop farther in the NFL. When we look at Andy Dalton we see Drew Brees.

Dalton, like Brees, is slightly undersized and leaves a spread college system that hid his lack of a rocket arm. Brees and Dalton were both given 2nd Round grades by most draft experts.

We see a bright future for Andy Dalton if he is drafted in to the right system. Dalton will excel in a spread or West Coast offense. This makes Seattle, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Minnesota possible destinations for him in round two.

The projections for Andy Dalton are all across the board, so below is a list of where Dalton is expected to go:

My projection on Andy Dalton is that he will end up at the Bengals at either 35, but they may have to trade back into the first round since they have tipped their hand.

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The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule
and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Hub, our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft and of course here on this site for Mountain West 

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