Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Coaching in the annual Senior Bowl is mostly a lame consolation prize for having a bad season. But, sometimes life is about making the most of a bad situation. When head coach Mike Smith and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff are leading the north squad in Mobile, AL at the end of this month they will have a unique opportunity to evaluate some of the top talent entering this spring’s NFL draft.
The Senior Bowl may not have the same kind of talent as it used to because all the really good players are already in the pros before they reach their senior year, but what it lacks for in star power it makes up for in depth. The annual gathering of the best four-year college players is a gold mine for mid and late-round picks.
These may not be the kind of players who make for splashy picks, certainly none will be in the mix for the Falcons’ 6th overall first rounder, but they are the kind of players that can start to fill out an Atlanta roster that needs depth.
That depth is especially needed on the offensive and defensive lines. Both units were a disappointment in 2013, and both need an infusion of young talent. And not just high end talent like defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, but with later picks that can help them fill out their roster. Recent history has shown that teams who send coaches to the Senior Bowl tend to have quality, deep drafts.
Smith and his new offensive and defensive line coaches will have the opportunity to evaluate and get to know plenty of potential future Falcons while coaching at the Senior Bowl. If history has been an indicator, that should mean a solid draft for Atlanta.