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Andre Smith – Scouting Report

 

Over the next few weeks, we here at Rams Gab will be going over the potential Rams 1st round draft picks.  There is no lock yet, but it is still early.  We will start the series with the Offensive Tackles.

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Right now, most NFL mock drafts have the Rams selecting massive tackle Andre Smith from Alabama with the second selection.  I have pulled information from a few web-based scouting reports.  Most scouting reports have glowing reports on Smith, but there are (as always a few caveats).

 

Lets first start with the good news.

 

These are rankings from CollegeScout.wordpress.com.

 

Play Strength: 7.0 – Great drive-blocker who mauls defenders.

 

Huge body, wide and thick with the most powerful build of any of the top tackles. Easily the best tackle in this draft, based on one thing. He is the most crippling run blocker at tackle I’ve seen in a decade. His ability to finish blocks and pull and move in space is like no one else.

NflSpot: Smith is big, and very nimble footed. A mauler in the run game, this is where Smith greatest strengths are. He plays great in space, driving through blocks and getting to the second level.

 

vs Bull Rush: 7.5 – Futile to attempt to outmuscle him, I didn’t see anyone do it successfully with any consistency.

 

Footwork: 6.5 – Smith isn’t always quick, but he does a good job keeping his feet underneath him.

DraftBoardInsider: He’s not going to wow you with fancy feet, but it doesn’t matter because he’s so big and so strong and so smart he’s never caught out of position, and because of that, he is always in a position to beat his man. And oh, does he beat them.

 

Bad News:

 

Hand technique: 5.5 – Smith doesn’t use his hands well at all. No real punch, latches on, sometimes eschews hands altogether and just rolls into defender. Not very good.

 

vs Speed Rush: 5.5 – He’ll struggle with speed rushers. 34 LBs and 43 RDEs will give him a lot of problems. He’s athletic enough to improve, but that will likely mean cutting weight and improving hand technique.

 

The weight issue.  Everyone says he has had trouble with his weight in college.  However, in the NFL his diet will be closely monitored and I don’t have any worries that he will be at the proper weight.

 

Feet and quickness to stick at LT?

NFLDraftDog: Robert Bryant says, “Not so fast, in my opinion, he doesn’t have the feet to be a top left tackle in the NFL unless he loses some weight and improves on his quickness. He has the power as a run blocker, but can be beaten around the edge by speed rushers. His legs are massive and a little heavy. He reminds me of the Cowboys OG Leonard Davis, who was selected 2nd overall in the 2001 NFL Draft by the Cardinals. Davis ended up at guard and that might be Smith’s ultimate position. That’s not a bad thing though, he could easily be a pro bowl guard. I just think at 6′ 4″ 330 pounds, his body structure fits the guard position better.” 

CollegeScout: Smith is a player who will make some team very happy, assuming he doesn’t lose the battle with his weight. He’s tremendously strong in his lower body, very explosive, and tough. Unfortunately, that’s the pedigree for a great guard or maybe right tackle, not a great left tackle. Even a run-oriented team will need to go pass-happy at times, and Smith with struggle mightily in those situations. Despite all the talk you hear about OTs being the safe pick, Smith is not safe at all – it’s a big risk hoping that Smith will play OT, and a considerable risk that Smith can manage his weight. I feel Smith is worth the risk to the right team as a top guard, but not as a tackle.

 

Summary:

 

Smith is not the slam dunk pick I thought he was going into this little exercise.  He has a very high ceiling (Walter Jones), but his floor is an all-world guard.  Not that there is anything wrong with having an all world guard.  But there is a problem with picking an all world guard at 2nd overall.  He may not have the quickness to cover the speed rushers off the edge in the NFL.  If he had trouble with them in college, the NFL is twice as fast.

 

One option is having Smith play RG for a year or so and work on his technique until Orlando Pace retires.  However, Andre Smith is a risky pick and I hope the Rams are sure they can improve his quickness and hand technique before sending him out against the best speed rushers in the NFL.

 

 


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