Even though the Cincinnati Bengals tied a franchise-record for the worst finish to a season in 2019, there are benefits to such a poor campaign. Aside from “earning” the No. 1 overall selection, the coaching staff has been given the opportunity to get hands-on with prospects down at the Senior Bowl.
While the vast majority of the draft discussion surrounding the team centers around quarterbacks, this is a class in which the “meat and potatoes” of a roster will be addressed in the middle rounds. That is to say that both lines, tight end and linebacker may all be called upon throughout nights two and three.
Many juniors who opted to come out early usually take over a chunk of the early picks, but the Senior Bowl usually showcases players who provide depth on rosters. John Sheeran is down in Mobile, Alabama, and shared his insights with us on this week’s Orange and Black Insider.
We asked him who has impressed, who hasn’t and other observations. Aside from his in-depth practice reports, here is a snapshot of who has show what over the past half-week:
Denzel Mims, Baylor, wide receiver: Sheeran noted that Mims is arguably the best
Terrell Lewis, Alabama, EDGE: Cincinnati has been moving the Crimson Tide edge rushers all around, including as 4-3 strong side linebackers.
Van Jefferson, Florida, wide receiver: Sheeran noted that he was one of the best-performing wideouts in practices
Jabari Zuniga, Florida, EDGE: Sheeran noted that Zuniga has been very active in drills and has looked explosive.
Justin Herbert, Oregon, quarterback: After an odd senior season filled with big stats and a couple of inexplicable performances, Herbert comes to Mobile as an enigma. However, he’s shown scheme adaptability, made some nice throws and has reportedly interviewed well.
asked justin herbert how handling multiple offenses at oregon has helped him adapt to the bengals’ scheme this week: pic.twitter.com/PmQ4Y4QGLI— john sheeran (@John__Sheeran) January 22, 2020
Michael Pittman, Jr., USC, wide receiver: It’s a deep receiver class, so Pittman needs to shine this week. He has apparently done so, allowing his stock to rise.
Lloyd Cushenberry, LSU, offensive line: Some wondered about the individual parts of the Tigers’ line when not playing together, but Cushenberry has played well in drills.
Tyree Phillips, offensive line, Mississippi State: Phillips is massive but has handled first-round prospect Jevon Kinlaw well in practices.
Antonio Ghandi-Golden, wide receiver, Liberty: The small school kid has been keeping pace with some of the bigger names during Senior Bowl week.
Logan Stenburg, Kentucky, offensive line: A powerful guy, but needs significant development. He’s been a whipping boy of Bengals offensive line coach, Jim Turner.
Trey Adams, Washington, offensive tackle: Unfortunately, one of the draft’s Day Two prospects has been injured and isn’t suiting up for the game. It’s nothing about his skills, it’s just that he isn’t showcasing them.
Prince Tega Wanogho, Auburn, offensive tackle: Like Adams, the promising SEC tackle is not suiting up for the event. Again, the knock isn’t his skill set, it’s that the team isn’t seeing him perform.
John Simpson, Clemson, offensive lineman: Sheeran noted that the zone blocking drills are exposing some of his weaknesses.
Also on tap this week:
- John Sheeran spoke with Bengals’ Director of Player Personnel, Duke Tobin, down in Mobile. The upcoming NFL Draft and the team’s strategic approach was the focus.
- What are the practices looking like under the Bengals’ staff?
- How has the most promising quarterback suiting up for the Senior Bowl, Justin Herbert, looked in practices?
- Who hasn’t been impressing in the early practices?
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