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Cincinnati Bengals could draft Tom Savage to push Andy Dalton

Fun fact: One-third of all Cincinnati Bengals playoff appearances have come in the past five seasons. The quarterback for all but one of those four games? Current starter Andy Dalton.

Three straight postseason games have not translated into any wins for Marvin Lewis' team, however, and that has folks in Cincinnati getting a bit restless. Dalton failed to impress (again) while throwing 51 passes in the team's blowout loss to the San Diego Chargers in last season's playoffs, and that has a few fans thinking the team should draft somebody who can either push him to become a better quarterback or even take over under center.

For a few franchises, such talk might be a bit overblown, given how difficult it is to even reach the playoffs nowadays. It's nevertheless being discussed quite a bit in the city, and there remains a possibility the team nabs a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Bengals have a number of needs they can address with their first-round pick, but NFL Media analyst Charles Davis thinks it might be worth taking a flyer on a quarterback in the second round if the front office really wants to send a message to Dalton.

"I would think second round, you could really bring someone in, somebody like a Tom Savage from Pittsburgh," Davis said on "Path to the Draft." "They do need one more running back to help them fortify things and allow someone to throw it down the field to A.J. Green. Tom Savage has plenty of arm to do that."

Dalton was reportedly told the team would not be drafting a quarterback to compete with him, but we'll have to wait until after to draft to see if that holds true. Dalton is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has made public his campaign to be the next highly paid franchise quarterback in the league. That could put the team in a tight spot as it determines if Dalton is the person to get it over the playoff hump.

Thus the possible interest in someone like Savage, who has shot up draft boards and might be the hottest prospect of the class at the end of April. Many believe he has the strongest arm in the 2014 NFL Draft and is well equipped to make every throw in an NFL playbook. He isn't a quarterback built to play right away, though, with a number of questions surrounding his pocket presence, football IQ and even character weighing on the minds of some scouts.

As much upside as Savage brings to a team like the Bengals, he might not be ready to take over for someone like Dalton right away.

"Tom Savage can push the ball vertically," analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "I look at Zach Mettenberger as another quarterback that can get the ball downfield.

"However, for all the criticism of Andy Dalton -- he throws it too much, he doesn't have a big enough arm to stretch the field -- he is mobile," Jeremiah said. "He can move around and create plays with his legs. If we're talking about Tom Savage and Zach Mettenberger, those are two guys who are not going to get you a whole lot with their legs."

It has certainly been an interesting offseason for Mike Brown and company, given what the team has done in free agency. Add in a decision on Dalton and the possibility of drafting his successor in May, and things might just be ripe for plenty of sports talk radio fun in Cincinnati.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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