The NFL Scouting Combine is just a mere day away, and this is a good reminder that we'll have a ton of coverage on the event over the week. Also we have plenty of draft coverage coming, and if you're looking to play catch up, Derrik Klassen's Quantifying Quarterback series is a great start.
Now, onto the week's biggest news.
Burrow says he has "leverage" ahead of NFL Draft
LSU QB Joe Burrow is an overwhelming favorite to be the first-overall pick this April. Overwhelming is an understatement. The Bengals need a quarterback, and almost all analysts believe that Burrow is the top signal-caller in this class. Match made in heaven, right?
Maybe not. "I do have leverage," Burrow told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "They have their process and I have my process." Burrow also quantified those comments by saying that he can't wait to play for whatever team drafts him.
At the very least, it creates an interesting conundrum for the Bengals. The organization - justifiably or not - has had its desire to win questioned, and that's probably too nice. We've also seen players like Eli Manning play a similar card and force a trade by threatening to not sign and reentering the draft.
The odds of this happening are insignificant, of course. While Burrow does have leverage, so do the Bengals. A year off would take at least a little shine off of his draft prospectus, and it's worth pointing out that Trevor Lawrence would have a good chance of being the top pick if another team picking at the top was choosing a quarterback in 2021. It's far more likely that Burrow is playing for the Bengals than not this fall, and if he does for whatever reason not want to play in Cincinnati, the Bengals can get plenty in a trade. Still, it's at the very least worth monitoring.
Bieniemy says no to Buffaloes
When Mel Tucker abruptly left Colorado this month to take the opening at Michigan State, a name that became an immediate favorite for that opening was Eric Bieniemy, who currently is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Like many things that sound like a fit on paper, it won't happen. Bieniemy took his name out of the running, and will stay the OC with the Chiefs in 2020. While it would have been a home-run hire for the Buffaloes, it's not a surprise to see that he's going to stick with Kansas City. There's a good chance that the 50-year-old is up for NFL jobs next year -- he should have been in 2019, if we're being blunt -- and he has a chance to win another Super Bowl in 2021.
Bieniemy wasn't the only name to say no to the Buffaloes this week. Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian also withdrew his name from consideration, which came as a bit of a surprise; Sarkisian has had success in the Pac-12, but it appears Alabama will give the former Washington and USC head coach a significant raise to keep him on staff.
The top candidates for the job in Boulder now appear to be USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and possibly Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun. Because we're so late in February, it's also possible Colorado might stick with interim head coach Darrin Chiaverini, but because of how aggressive Colorado has been, that sounds like a longshot.
South Carolina WR Edwards to miss NFL Scouting Combine
It seems that every year we get an injury or two prior to the NFL Scouting Combine. Unfortunately, 2020 isn't an exception. South Carolina wide receiver Brian Edwards suffered a broken foot, and won't be able to participate in Indianapolis.
It goes without saying, but this is a big blow for Edwards. For one thing, he's in a draft class that is absolutely loaded with quality wideouts -- ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. recently opined that up to 30 wideouts could go in the first three rounds -- and this puts the 6-foot-3, 215-pound wideout behind the ball. It's also worth pointing out that Edwards has a history of injuries, and this obviously won't change that opinion for the better. He likely was a Day 3 selection anyway, but barring a strong Pro Day or a team falling in love with his skill set, this all but cements it.
Auburn T Prince Tega Wanogho also will not be able to participate in the athletic testing drills at the combine due to a lingering knee injury. It's the same injury that kept the tackle from participating in the Reese's Senior Bowl. It's a bummer for the 6-foot-7, 305-pound tackle -- and teams interested in drafting one of the more intriguing offensive lineman in the class, but it sounds like Wanogho will be ready for private workouts soon.
Southern Miss hired Arkansas Pine-Bluffs HC Cedric Thomas to serve as defensive coordinator ... Former Clemson redshirt senior DE Xavier Kelly transferred to Arkansas as a graduate ... Houston redshirt senior RB Mulbah Car (back) was ruled out for spring practice ... Alabama hired former USF HC Charlie Strong to serve as a defensive analyst ... Georgia redshirt freshman QB D'Wan Mathis (head) was cleared to take part in spring practice. Mathis (6'4"/185) underwent emergency surgery to remove a brain cyst last May and was not cleared for contact work during the fall ... Colorado redshirt sophomore QB Blake Stenstrom entered the NCAA transfer portal ... Four-star 2021 verbal WR commit Alonzo Fontenette has reopened his recruitment after decommitting from Arizona State ... Former Stanford redshirt senior CB Obi Eboh transferred to UCLA as a graduate ... Michigan State hired former Spartans WR Courtney Hawkins to serve as the WR coach ... Buffalo and HC Lance Leipold have agreed to a five-year contract extension.