Scouting Report – Jason Smith

Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

Jason Smith is getting a lot of hype since the Senior Bowl, some people even placing him as the top offensive tackle.  This shows how much confusion there is from everyone regarding which of the tackles is number one on all boards.  Jason Smith is attempting to vie with Andre Smith of Alabama to complete the “Long 1-2” from 2008 with the Smith surname in 2009.  Is it possible?  Mike Maycock of NFL.com has Jason Smith as the top OT of the 2009 NFL draft.  What does he have going for him?

NFL Draft Dog: Smith is arguably the most athletic lineman available in the 2009 NFL Draft and could have an immediate impact on a line next year.  He could play LT or LG in a zone-blocking scheme possesses the speed to get out and move to the second level very effectively.  His days running routes is evident in his ability to pull and trap and his awareness of where the ball is going on screens.  His speed and long arms make him an explosive weapon in space against linebackers and safeties.  Technique wise, he has made huge strides this year as well. 

His footwork has gotten much better with another year of experience, but he just doesn’t have the lower body strength necessary to blow NFL defensive linemen up at this point. 

A masher and mauler Smith is not, but he is perfect for a zone-scheme where he’ll be able to get out and move a lot and hide some of his strength issues until he’s able to bulk up.

Mocking the Draft:

Strengths: Incredibly athletic for an offensive lineman. Smith is a converted tight end who is naturally light on his feet. Possesses the quickness and agility to neutralize speed rushers. Smith has long arms and does a nice job extending. Moves well in space and gets to the second level quickly. Does extremely well on pulls and traps. Flashes some aggression on the field pancaking opponents. Has a good attitude. Coaches said he showed a lot of effort in learning left tackle.

Weaknesses: Strong, power rushers give Smith trouble. Technique needs adjusting. Smith doesn’t stay low on every play can be pushed around when he loses leverage. Backpedals instead of shuffling his feet. Lets smaller linemen get under his pads. Needs to continue developing his strength, particularly in his lower body. Doesn’t seem to be naturally strong like some offensive linemen. Could stand to add 15 or more pounds of bulk.

Final word: Smith flew under the radar early in his career after playing on the right side in 2006 and being injured during part of the 2007 season. Given his natural athleticism, Smith can immediately help a zone blocking scheme. If he gets good coaching and adds more strength, he’ll be able to play any scheme. Play is similar to Jason Peters of the Buffalo Bills. Smith was named a third-team All American and first-team All Big 12 as a senior.

Summary:

Jason Smith seems to be a good enough tackle and is drawing comparisons to Jason Peters and 2008 draftee Chris Williams from Vanderbilt.  But, he seems suited to a zone-blocking scheme at least until he can build some size and strength in the NFL.  The Rams don’t seem like they are going to change their offensive line blocking scheme in 2009 after retaining their offensive line coaches.  So, Jason Smith does not seem like an instant impact lineman that the Rams so desperately need.  He also does not seem like a top 2 instant star type lineman.  However, all that being said, Jason Smith has been established to have the highest upside of the offensive line class – even more than Andre Smith – it seems.  So, that may give the Rams pause at number 2 if they think they can develop Jason over a few years.


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