During a typical year, the two coaching staffs chosen to coach in the Senior Bowl had a distinct advantage in working with, and getting to know, a wide range of NFL Draft hopefuls.
With increasing chatter that Pro Days on college campuses and the NFL Combine are in serious jeopardy of actually taking place this year, being able to work the Senior Bowl game could provide significant advantages - much more so than the typical year.
In a world still grappling with getting COVID under control, the scene of scouts and personnel flying from all over the country to descend on a facility with notebooks in hand to evaluate college talent from all over the country seems pretty far fetched at this point.
That's why having the opportunity to work the Senior Bowl game, where, in order for it to actually take place, protocols will also have to be really strict as the game pulls players from all over college football, could be a really unique advantage this year.
The Senior Bowl is set to take place on January 30th.
The two staffs chosen to work the Senior Bowl game this year, and the holders of that distinct advantage are the staffs of Matt Rhule and the Carolina Panthers (who pick 8th) and Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins (who pick 3rd and 18th).
Rhule's staff currently has some key positions currently open, as Jake Peetz and DJ Mangas left to become coordinators at LSU, and assistant offensive line coach Marcus Satterfield took the offensive coordinator job at South Carolina. There are a few additional members of Rhule's staff in the mix for other positions as well, including offensive coordinator Joe Brady who has interviewed for a number of head coaching opportunities and defensive passing game coordinator Jason Simmons who is in the running for the Cowboys defensive coordinator position.
The Dolphins also have several key openings, including at offensive coordinator after Chan Gailey recently resigned last week.
It's also worth reminding folks that back in November, the NFL approved a plan that will reward teams with draft picks for developing minority coaches and GMs. This will be another area to keep an eye on for teams to gain an advantage come draft time if things like pro days and the combine are called off.
As the COVID vaccine continues to roll out across the country, it will be interesting to see how the months leading up to the NFL Draft look different, and if we'll have the second iteration of the Virtual NFL Draft.
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.