Tony Romo, Marvin Lewis, Ben Roethlisberger
The Cincinnati Bengals are feeling pretty good about the roster they have in place.
According to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, they won't enter the NFL Draft, which starts Wednesday, with an eye toward finding immediate starters.
"Knock on wood here," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told reporters covering the team during the team's pre-draft news conference. "But, hopefully, as we have in the past, these guys don't have to step in and necessarily be a Day One starter for us."
In 2013, the Bengals won their second AFC North championship in five years. They also are on a franchise-long streak of three consecutive postseason appearances.
Although his team hasn't won a playoff game since 1990, Lewis is convinced he has the necessary pieces in place to ultimately get over that hump. He might not be seeking a starter in the draft, but he has a clear idea of type of player he would like to add to the squad.
"We want a guy, No. 1, that we can count on," Lewis said. "That's the hardest part of the evaluation, (finding) a guy we can count on."
BEN ROETHLISBERGER SEES LONG STRETCH OF CONTINUING TO 'BLEED BLACK AND GOLD'
Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers both say they are looking to extend the quarterback's current contract, which runs through 2015.
In the meantime, Roethlisberger is reinforcing the notion that he not only wants to keep playing for the team with which he has won two Super Bowls but plans to do so for a long time.
Roethlisberger's football longevity figures to be helped by the fact the Steelers started going with a faster-paced, no-huddle offense last season that allowed him to make quicker throws and avoid hits. Roethlisberger told Pittsburgh radio station 93.7 The Fan that the team is continuing to use the scheme in offseason workouts, and that it could even become "a regular thing" this year.
Roethlisberger, 32, said, "I bleed black and gold." He also said, "I feel like I'm in great shape. I think I can get five, six, seven more years out of this arm and these legs."
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS USE NEW-SCHOOL METHODS TO JUDGE TALENT
Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey is 53 years old and considers himself "an old-school guy."
But he also understands there are new-school ways to evaluate NFL talent, and he and the rest of the Chiefs' player-personnel staff are utilizing them in preparation for the draft.
Among the more popular new-school techniques is analytics. The Chiefs are using software from a company called Decision Lens that is assisting in their efforts to find the types of players they want for each position.
In a press release from the company, Dorsey is quoted as saying the software is a "game-changer for identifying and analyzing talent."
Dan Saaty, chief technology officer for Decision Lens, explained to the Kansas City Star that the company asks its team clients to share how important it values measurement standards, such as the bench press and 40-yard dash, and also incorporates each scout's evaluation of prospects. It then produces software that gives each player a score.
"You're going to collect data on these players all year," Saaty said. "Some of the data is highly accurate, quantitative measured data. Some of it is subjective, judgmental data. How do I take their raw capabilities from the combine and blend it with the scout's (assessment) about how the guy will play in the field, what his character is like, how intelligent they will be and get a whole picture of how a player performs for a given position?
"That's what we help them do. We give structure to that."
JASON GARRETT: TONY ROMO IS A 'VERY YOUNG' PLAYER
At 34, Tony Romo would not necessarily be regarded as a "young" NFL quarterback, but don't tell that to his coach.
Jason Garrett called Romo, who is recovering from back surgery, a "very young player." And that would seem to dismiss the notion that the Dallas Cowboys are looking to replace their signal-caller any time soon, something that rumors of their interest in drafting Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel strongly suggested.
"He moves around really well," Garrett was quoted as saying in the Dallas Morning News. "He hasn't lost any mobility, ability to get away from people. I think his arm is better than ever, so we don't look at him despite his back situation that he's had over the last couple of years as somebody who is an old player by any means. He simply needs to rehab his back and get himself healthy and get going again."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones added to the notion that Romo will remain the team's quarterback, saying, "We know his back is everything we would want it to be at this time. We feel very strong about the edge our quarterback gives us and it a great place to build."
This Road to the Draft feature is driven by Liberty Ford.
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