Yet another data point for Cincinnati Bengals fans who expect an offensive tackle at six: the Wonderlic scores for the top prospects have leaked. Eugene Monroe and Jason Smith, who are running neck-and-neck for top OT in the upcoming draft, finished in a virtual dead heat, scoring 24 and 23, respectively, on the 50-question test. Michael Oher, who has been dogged by allegations of a learning disability, got a 19, two points ahead of Andre “Moobs” Smith’s 17.
Take it for what you will. I’ve always felt the Wonderlic was one of the most over-rated aspects of the whole pre-draft process, but when you’re being forced to choose between multiple top-tier prospects, this kind of nitpicking is inevitable. For those who dislike it, there’s even worse news today: the NFL is considering moving the draft to late February, ahead of the free agent period. That would only amplify the importance of the Combine and, unless Mike Brown changes his ways, would have disastrous consequences for the Bengals.
One other key factor in holding the draft earlier is that it is likely to limit the amount of input from the head coach and his assistants. It will force teams to rely more on their scouting staffs and personnel departments. The earlier draft will reward well-organized and talented scouting departments and expose less-talented, less-informed scouts.
Yikes. I would say such a move would force Brown to build something resembling an NFL-caliber scouting department, except that nothing forces Brown to do anything he doesn’t want to, and he obviously hasn’t ever wanted to do that. And even if he did, I’m sure some would argue that, hey, he can’t hire competent coaches, what makes you think he would hire competent scouts? Still, any new scouts would likely be a step up, whatever their quality.
Setting aside the implications for the Bengals, I like the idea of putting the draft ahead of free agency. Most teams build through the draft and fill in with free agents, so the current set-up is exactly backwards.