THUNDERING BLURB » Andre Smith ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 en hourly 1 Wednesday NFL Draft News and Notes – Did Andre Smith Do Enough? Thu, 12 Mar 2009 06:21:00 +0000 admin So while there is the usual ever flowing news from Pro Days and Free Agency, the biggest story of the day seems to have settled just where I thought it would be.

Left Tackle Andre Smith worked out at Alabama’s Pro Day on Wednesday and left observers and scouts with two very distinct impressions.

For example, the Chicago Sun Times was told by a source that Smith did well in his positional drills and that he won’t drop out of the top ten. On NFL Network’s Path to the Draft, both Charles Davis (who was present at the workout) and Mike Mayock felt that while he looked out of shape and underperformed in some areas, he did enough to hang around that top ten area.

However many other reports are calling Smith’s workout, which included a mere 19 lifts in the bench press, a 5.28 and 5.33 second time in the 40-yard dash and a short 25 inch vert, lackluster and further cause for concern.

Most cited as red flags are the lift reps and the vert, both of which were expected to be higher. The vertical jump really surprised folks, since Smith wieghed in at just 325 pounds, lighter than he has been in some time. The vertical jump is a measure of athleticism and agility – both things a left tackle needs.

So who is right? Mayock says that tape doesn’t lie and Smith can clearly play. But which Smith shows up to camp?

I have that same question. After all, we’ve now seen him unprepared in many ways for two of the biggest job interviews of his life. And while many o-linmen look a bit chubby, when Smith took his shirt off (not sure who green-lit that idea, but it was a doozy) it was clear he lacked almost any definition at all. And running without his shirt off. Wow.

Many analysts will tell you that the positional drills, not the workout drills (for example the 40, the shuttle) ar what counts and by all accounts, he did well there.

But too many things add up to question marks on Smith and so that part of his day has once again been overshadowed.

Listen, Smith has talent. And other guys have come out of college who had tremendous talent and either no discipline or no clue. Sometimes they bust like former USC and Lion wide reciever Mike Williams. Sometimes they turn it around like former USC running back and current Titans short yardage back LenDale White. Though to be fair, White still has issues.

Smith will either get it or he won’t. The question is, when you look at tape of his junior year, is he worth the potential risk?

And as I have said before, the further he falls, the quicker he will get picked up. He will get grabbed by a team in the first because at some point he will not cost as much as he did in the top 5 and may even be with a team who can allow him to come along slower.

At some point in that first round, someone, somewhere will stop seeing a potential problem slide towards them.

They may start seeing a potential Pro Bowler.

He’s got that ability, though he is prone to lazy moments and sometimes absorbs too many blows. I like him, but he has his questions and not just personality-wise.

I think in the end, scouts and teams will see this workout and it may support whichever way they were already leaning. For his detractors, this was a horrific workout, one that should drop him out of the top ten.

For those who see his ability and potential, they will focus on his positional drills. They will come back, a few weeks prior to the Draft and they will run Smith through his paces again.

If he has progressed, he may find himself a new home. If he doesn’t, his stock will slip just a tad bit further down the first round ladder.

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Tuesday NFL Draft News and Notes Wed, 11 Mar 2009 03:41:00 +0000 admin Another day, another grip of news.

Like I said yesterday, you never know where the news will break or in what way. I can attest to that since I suddenly found myself breaking the story that Fresno State QB Tom Brandstater would not be working out at all his Pro Day (Wednesday, March 10th) due to a torn Lat muscle which was hurt prior to the NFL Scouting Combine and aggravated in Indianapolis.

“Two weeks before (the Combine) I tore my lat muscle in my side …underneath my arm,” Brandstater told me during the interview on All Access Football. “So, I re-aggravated it at the Combine. I haven’t been able to do anything for the last … since the Combine. I’m not even going to be able to throw…”

Brandstater did say he would be at the event tomorrow and use his time to meet the teams and the scouts present.

What does this mean for a guy like Brandstater, who came off the Scouting Combine red hot? Many analysts have him ranked as anywhere from the fifth to the tenth quarterback. Does he take a huge hit?

Frankly, no. Listen, this is an average group at best. Get past Stafford and his awesome work in a room full of scouts, or Sanchez and his work ethic and lack of film and Freeman and his huge tractor trailer full of upside and you have a host of guys who might, maybe someday be good quarterbacks.

I love Pat White out of West Virginia, but as impressive as he looked at the Combine, he still has some question marks in terms of holding up for a whole season plus he’s the new ‘face of the wildcat’ as far as the talking heads on TV are concerned.

Nate Davis, Rhett Bomar, Stephen McGee – all guys with great upside but nobody who you’ll plug in with confidence on purpose.

So to my mind, no, Brandstater is not terribly hurt by this. He wasn’t going on day one anyway. Maybe he slips from round 4 or 5 to 5 or six. But he’s not a guy who was ‘ready to start’ anyway.

Moving on to other news (and putting and end to the back patting)…..

Nice, though brief, piece on Path to the Draft about Cal-Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden. Another guy I interviewed prior to the Combine, Barden suffered through an injury at the Senior Bowl and had a good, though not great scouting Combine. I was happy to see him still getting press from guys like Mayock and Davis. Barden needs to use his size more effectively if he’s going to succeed at the NFL level.

Otherwise he stands to look a lot like James Hardy, part deux. Well, Hardy, minus the Owens signing.

I feel like I have seen the term ‘bad surface’ a ton during the first few weeks of Pro Days. The latest is in a column on by the ageless Gil Brandt about Montana’s Colt Anderson. The young safety prospect ran indoors on a rubber track, managing a 4.22 in the 20-yard shuttle. He went outside for the three-cone and ran a 6.88, which isn’t too bad either.

I just wrote the other day about a Pro Day where shuttles and 40s were run in a wood-floor gym. A rubber floor is a step up, but how much? What’s going on with these schools? I’m not saying they should throw a hundred thousand at facilities just on the basis that ten guys will work out for scouts.

But I’m seeing a lot of questionable surfaces and wonder if I’m going to be typing ‘John Doe tore his ACL when his toe caught on the edge of a wood slat.’

Wrapping up Anderson though, he was a guy hovering around the seventh round or rookie free agent signing area in projections. It sounds like he might have locked that up, but it’s early and you never know who could really wow scouts over the next 40 plus days.

I know this has been talked about by me and others but how big a day is tomorrow for Alabama tackle Andre Smith? He already cost himself millions with the antics at the Scouting Combine.

Another misstep and he’ll be the free-fall we all talk about come the Monday after the Draft.

Finally, if you want to know about great small school prospects, you need to find out what Josh Buchanan is writing. Currently stringing for, Josh is the man when it comes to smaller school prospects.

Mr. Buchanan is reporting that Liberty running back Rashad Jennings, probably the hottest small school guy to come out of the Scouting Combine (neck and neck with Johnny Knox from Abilene Christian), has been racking up frequent flier miles. He hit Denver Monday, the Eagles Tuesday, will hit the Pats Wednesday and the Jets on Friday.

He fits a few of those teams. Denver is collecting running backs like I am moving violations, Philadelphia needs to back oft-banged up Westbrook, the Hoodie (that would be Bill Belichick) needs to wash the taste of Laurence Maroney out of his mouth and Fred Taylor can only do so much. The Jets aren’t as likely but how many years does Thomas Jones have? Besides, like everyone else, the Jets know you can’t have too many running backs in your pocket.

Jennings has done a ton to up his profile. I’m watching some tape of him now and he’s an interesting guy.

He may just be the next ’small school surprise’.

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