The Bengals and Bills have been rewarded for their equally terrible seasons with an opportunity to coach the Senior Bowl. With that said, I am happy that Marvin Lewis recognizes the value of this experience. The NFL Combine is not the most ideal format for evaluating talent. In fact, it’s about as effective as the Westminster Kennel Club Show. Players run and jump. They bench. They answer a few questions. And they do nothing under exact game conditions.
Meanwhile, down at the Senior Bowl Lewis and his staff – which may or may not have some changes – will get to see a host of players in actual game conditions. And practice conditions too. It’s a genuine advantage. If they had front row seats to the train-wreck that was Andre Smith a few years ago, they may have never drafted him in the first place. Now, with a No. 4 pick on their hands and a week to evaluate the players in Mobile, they have a good chance to avoid another disaster.
The preliminary roster is here. Of particular interest to me are the quarterbacks, a fairly solid group overall. Cincinnati could be looking for Carson Palmer’s eventual replacement in this year’s draft and I think it would be wise to select a signal caller somewhere after the first round. Washington’s Jake Locker, TCU’s Andy Dalton (who won a crapload of games in college), Alabama’s Greg McElroy and Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi are decent prospects who could be available in the second round and beyond. In my mind, Locker, a freakish athlete, is the best prospect even though he had a rather lackluster senior season. Don’t be surprised if the Bengals have a close eye on him and everyone else under center.
Let’s just hope it’s not Bob Bratkowski running their drills.