As if there weren't already enough teams seeking a quarterback at the top of this year's draft, Brian Galliford at SB Nation has the Bengals entering the foray at the No. 4 position in their updated 2011 mock draft. Specifically, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is being teamed with the Bengal's first round choice to take Carson Palmer's place. Given the recent statements of Palmer concerning his willingness to retire if he's not traded by owner/GM Mike Brown this offseason, that's a very real possibility.
Galliford says the treatment of Palmer in allowing the former USC product to come in slowly would be likely once again, even if the current veteran was out of the way: "As the Carson Palmer situation continues to hover over the organization, the Bengals need to take a quarterback if they can get one. If they can land a talent like Gabbert, expect a veteran acquisition to bring the rook along slowly - just as they did with Palmer."
It's not a given, however, that Gabbert would even be available at this point. The Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers both select ahead of the Bengals, and even the Denver Broncos have been kicking the tires of some of the draft's quarterback prospects. The reality is that QB is such a position of need among the bottom tier of teams in the NFL that someone is going to strike early on Gabbert. The Bengals newfound interest only complicates an already crowded situation of demand with a lack of sure supply.