The dual-code star scored seven tries in eight games for the Lions fifteen years ago.
"I played under a great leader in Martin Johnson in 1997 and I think Sam Warburton could have as big an affect," Bentley told the Western Mail.
"He's inspirational and leads from the front. Warburton would be a great captain of the Lions, although there is a lot that can take place before then.
"He's certainly got the respect of the players and he would be my choice because he has been outstanding since bursting onto the international scene."
Warburton is one of the leading candidates to get the captain's armband for next year's tour and Bentley believes he will be surrounded by Wales team-mates in the squad following a World Cup semi-final and RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam.
"You won't pick a captain, then pick a squad," added Bentley.
"They will pick the squad and look at the demographics of the squad and select a captain from that.
"They'll be 35-40 players on the tour, if there's 24 Welshmen there's not going to be an Irishman as captain.
"Wales will dominate the squad in terms of management and personnel and that's what makes Sam's case even stronger.
"This is regardless that he has already proved himself as a leader of men."