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Faint Praise

At offensive tackle go in the top of the 2009 NFL draft, there are two to four players that will be taken in the first 15 picks.  But, are they worthy of the 2nd overall selection?

The Post-Dispatch checks in with some scouts about Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe.

“They’re good, but they’re not like Orlando (Pace),” said a veteran NFC scout, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “They’re not even close to Pace and (Jonathan) Ogden and those guys, where you turn on the tape and say, ‘Oh my God, he looks like a Hall of Famer.’ Walter Jones — he was way up there. Those guys are rare.”

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also finds scouts with the same opinions.

“In another draft none of these guys would be top five,” Seattle Seahawks scout Charles Fisher said. “They’re good players, but I wouldn’t consider any of these guys as pure franchise cornerstones. Branden Albert is more athletic than all these guys.”

“The tackles, you can find reasons why all of them will struggle,” an AFC personnel director said. “One with weight (Andre Smith), one with anchor (Jason Smith), one with passion (Monroe) and one with intelligence (Oher).”

We’ll cover the lineman individually after the jump.

Another quote from an offensive line coach paints Monroe in a particularly tame light.

“Monroe, I hate the way he finishes,” said a veteran NFC offensive line coach, also speaking on the condition of anonymity. “At the end of the play, if you watch tape on him, he watches. He has his hands down by his side, the ball carrier isn’t tackled, and he makes no effort to get out in front of anybody, to go out and pick somebody off a pile.”

But Baylor’s Jason Smith is not spared.

“When I saw Jason Smith during the fall, yes, I thought he’d be a solid first-round pick for somebody,” Savage said. “But I never dreamed people would be talking about him as the first pick in the whole draft. You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Jason Smith’s got everything but he never run-blocks,” another scout said. “I don’t know if he can blow guys off the ball. My God, he’s from Baylor!

If the Rams think along with these scouts, there is no way they pick an offensive lineman with the number 2 overall selection.  If they do decide that their need at offensive tackle is too great – they will be getting a solid player, no doubt.  But, they will not be geting the cailber of player that has been picked at number 2 overall in previous years.


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