Senior Bowl week is here, and the Bengals have several coaches and scouts down in Mobile, Alabama for the annual college All-Star game.
There will undoubtedly be several prospects the Bengals meet with this week, but the first confirmed player Cincinnati has met with is Baylor Bears wide receiver Jay Lee, per Walter Football.
A two-year starter at receiver, Lee finished his college career ranked 14th at Baylor in all-time receiving yards (1,700) and 17th in all-time receptions (101). At 6'3", 215-pound, Lee totaled 1,700 yards and 15 TDs on 101 receptions in 45 career games played, including 26 starts.
This past season, Lee started in all 13 games and totaled 758 yards and eight touchdowns on 38 catches. He averaged 19.95 yards per catch, which was ranked 13th nationally and third in the Big 12. He was also named ESPN's Big 12 Unsung Hero of 2015.
It must be pointed out that Lee's lack of bigger numbers during his senior season was because of an onslaught of injuries at quarterback. Baylor's last three games saw their quarterbacks throw for 62, 84 and 111 yards. Even before that, the Bears had a true freshman QB, Jarrett Stidham start in three games, so it would have been hard for any receiver to really stand out in that offense, despite their air-raid mentality.
The Bengals have actually had a Baylor receiver and former teammate of Lee's on the offseason roster and practice squad for parts of the past two seasons, Tevin Reese. As for Lee's draft projections, NFLDraftScout.com has him projected as the 45th-best receiver and 378th-overall prospect, so he might be someone targeted as a seventh-round pick or priority free agent.
Speaking of Baylor, three other Bears will be taking part in the Senior Bowl. Defensive end Shawn Oakman could be someone the Bengals target in the draft, but he's an enigma who could go anywhere between late in Round 1 to somewhere after Round 3. What he does between now and April will help shape his true draft stock.
Spencer Drango is a nice offensive tackle prospect, but the Bengals should be banned from drafting a tackle in the first three rounds this year. Then again, CBS Sports has him currently listed as a second to third round prospect as a guard, with Dane Brugler saying he "has the skills to fight for first round status."
Baylor long-snapper Jimmy Landes, one of only two long-snappers to get an invite to the game, is also present.
The Bengals' coaching staff has plenty of experience with attending the Senior Bowl and they likely have their own system in place for how they evaluate players during the practice week and during the game on Saturday. Like any team at the Senior Bowl, they are simply looking into some of their many options and we shouldn't take too much stock into the players that meet with the team. The names being mentioned this week are simply the few that have actually been reported on and there are almost certainly several other guys who the Bengals will meet with that won't be publically known.