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.