The Atlanta Falcons announced today that Mike Smith and the rest of the team’s coaching staff will coach the North Team in the Senior Bowl that will be played later this month in Mobile, Alabama. The Senior Bowl is an annual all-star game featuring the top senior players from college football preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Jacksonville Jaguars will coach the South team. Each team will handle the week of practices with their stable of players, and then coach them in the game which will be played at the end of the week on January 25 in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.
This will mark the first time the Falcons have coached at the Senior since 1978 per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC. Assignments for who coaches the two teams generally go to teams with stable coaching situations near the top of the draft. Given the changes made among coaching staffs with the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, and Cleveland Browns, and uncertainty surrounding the status of Dennis Allen with the Oakland Raiders, the Jaguars and Falcons became the obvious choices for heading up Senior Bowl practices. The Jaguars hold the third overall selection, while the Falcons are set to pick sixth.
The week of close exposure to the players on the North team should give the Falcons a leg-up in terms of player evaluations. In most years, it typically leads to several prospects being drafted for the respective teams.