Andre Smith is having a bad few months. First, he was suspended for Alabama’s bowl game in January. Then he showed up out of shape at the Combine in February and left early – without telling anyone. And finally, with an opportunity to redeem himself at his school’s pro day last week, he ran a 5.29, benched 225 pounds only 19 times and flashed bigger boobs than Pamela Anderson. “It wasn't very impressive,” said a scout for another NFC team, “but I wouldn’t count him out just yet. Three season’s worth of game tapes don’t lie. This kid is a tremendously talented offensive lineman.”
In many ways, Smith is the anti-Mike Mamula. Remember him? Mamula, a solid but unspectacular defensive end from Boston College, parlayed a fantastic combine and personal workout into millions of dollars. He was selected seventh overall by Philadelphia in 1995 – about 40 spots higher than most projected him at the conclusion of his senior season. “He was the ultimate workout warrior,” said the scout. “I think his disappointing professional career taught teams a very valuable lesson – you can’t let a few workouts supersede what a player did on the field for three seasons.”
While most general managers have adhered to that philosophy for the past 13 years , the occasional Vernon Davis (49ers) or Vernon Gholston (Jets) still slips into the top 10. “But look at who made those picks,” added the scout. “Neither Scot McCloghan nor Mike Tannenbaum will be confused with Ron Wolf or Bill Polian any time soon. The more experienced guys – like Ted Thompson – tend to base their evaluations more on tape than they do on what a guy looks like running around in shorts and a t-shirt in a controlled environment.”
So does that mean Smith would be a viable option for the Pack at No. 9? Maybe, maybe not. “It all depends on how he checks out when Thompson and his guys do their homework,” said the scout. “I know that [Alabama coach] Nick Saban still thinks pretty highly of the kid, and his opinion matters to old-school general managers like Thompson.” Nevertheless, it isn’t Saban’s job that will be on the line if Smith flops. On the other hand, it isn’t often that a tackle as talented – and productive – is available at 9. “He played at a higher level than either Jason Smith or Eugene Monroe for the past few seasons,” added the scout. “It’s very important to not lose sight of that fact.” Baylor’s Smith and Virginia’s Monroe have catapulted past Smith as the top two tackles in the draft over the past two or three weeks.
If – and it's a very big if – Smith winds up in Green Bay, he would immediately move into the starting lineup at right tackle. "That's probably his best position at the next level," said the scout. "He's a dominant run blocker who can drive defenders off the ball. He's not quite as good in pass protection. He can anchor and handle power, but elite speed can give him problems. That's why I project him as a right tackle first, a guard second and a left tackle third. That said, I would certainly give him a long look as a possible replacement for Chad Clifton a year from now. If the kid stays in shape and is willing to work hard both on the practice field and in the classroom, there's nothing he can't do." Does that include starring in a remake of Baywatch?
Copyright 2009. Do not repost.