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 Discussing the OLTs at the top of the 2009 draft 
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I'll give you the point on strength for sure. It's definetely a measure of strength, but specifically is geared towards upper body endurance. I get your point as well.

February 22nd, 2009, 11:22 am
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I believe that the bench press is a flawed measure of strength...especially for a lineman. How often, unless you're really terrible, are you going to be laying on your back and pushing up?

Of the workouts that I've seen, it appears that Monroe and Smith are extremely close in ability. I wouldn't be up set with either of them.

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February 22nd, 2009, 1:08 pm
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With Alabama’s Smith having such a bad combine experience, the door was open for another tackle to step up and cement himself as the best of the crop. That left Baylor’s Smith to battle it out with Virginia’s Eugene Monroe in Saturday’s drills. By most accounts, they both fared extremely well in the agility drills, showing good footwork and explosion. Both also ran their 40-yard dashes in the solid 5.15- to 5.25-second range. But Baylor’s Smith separated himself in the bench press, putting up 33 reps at 225 pounds, compared to only 23 for Monroe. Both players have similar arm lengths, so that was not a factor in the difference. A former tight end, the 33 reps showed very good strength for Smith’s 309-pound size, and might give him the edge as the best left tackle in this year’s draft.

Oher was another guy who could have potentially benefited from Alabama’s Andre Smith faltering, but his numbers were slightly disappointing. Oher had only 21 reps at 225 pounds (less than both Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe, who both have similar body measurements) and ran a pedestrian 5.37 to 5.41 in the 40-yard dash. Oher will still carry a first-round grade, but it’s likely to be more toward the middle of the round than in the top 10, which was a possibility entering the week.

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February 22nd, 2009, 1:10 pm
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Post Re: Discussing the OLTs at the top of the 2009 draft
phunnypharm wrote:
I found a bit of info on Andre Smith, but I thought I'd name this thread in a more general way to make it easy to follow a discussion of the OLTs.

Here's the story...from

Offensive Tackle Andre Smith has had a rough start to the NFL Scouting Combine. On Friday Smith said he didn't start working out until the last few weeks. He also didn't lift on Friday. On Saturday, Smith was unable to be located. Smith was later found. According to NFL Network, Smith and his agent have given conflicting stories about his whereabouts.

and the version .......

Alabama OT Smith skips combine workout
Posted: Combine | Staff | Tags: Andre Smith

Offensive tackle prospect Andre Smith from Alabama said Thursday he wasn’t sure whether he would work out for scouts at this week’s combine. Friday, he announced he’d only work out at Alabama’s pro day March 11. Saturday, Smith was announced as missing.

According to an announcement inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the benefit of scouts in attendance, Smith’s whereabouts were unknown for a time Saturday morning. About 30 minutes before he was scheduled to work out, he finally was located, but there were conflicting stories about why he was absent.

Smith, projected to be drafted as high as No. 2 overall by the Rams, came into the combine with some question marks. He was suspended from Alabama’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl for alleged improper contact with an agent, and he reportedly has struggled to keep his weight in check.

The "weight issue" is becoming more than just a minor concern for me. I realize that 320+ guys don't need to be endurance champs.... but this guy is in the middle of the MOST important job interviewing process of his life... and his agent certainly must have already told him that being in TOP shape for the next 2 months could be diffference of several million dollars in guaranteed money.

The RED flag is blowing in the wind as we speak.

Andre Smith not working out at the combine is a glaring red flag for me. Anyone who doesnt bother to workout is a red flag whether its because they are out of shape, wanted to run a faster 40 on their home track, or didnt want to compete against other prospects.

February 22nd, 2009, 4:47 pm
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It's looking like we could be able to snag a great OLT with our second pick, this is VERY good. With the field being up for grabs on the top OLT, there is no reason to nab one too early. There is no Jake Long in this draft.

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February 22nd, 2009, 5:52 pm
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Watching the combine here's how things were clarified for me.


Initial reads right before the combine were like so:

1. Eugene Monroe
2. Jason Smith
3. Andre Smith
4. Michael Oher

Eugene Monroe was the best technician. Does everything you asked of him. He has naturally gifted physical ability. I thought Michael Oher was the most athletic of the bunch. I figured he was getting by on what he was blessed with physically. And the inconsistency could be explained by his late start in football. He has a learning disability, but I've tried to take that with a grain of salt for now. I haven't seen tape of Jason Smith, but my research on him moved him to the top of my list in intelligence and character. He would use analogies and illustrations when he was trying to demonstrate examples during interviews, and I was very impressed with it. Things I've taken away from scouts was that he was quite the athlete. However I assumed it was more quickness and speed oriented than strength and power based. He was also noted for having a mean streak. Andre Smith was the odd man in the bunch with his extra girth. Obviously there have been the weight and improper conduct red flags, but when on the field he had no issues. So the character issues weren't on the field, but off the field stuff. He was a guy who had a natural mean streak you liked as well.

Press Conferences
Before the Andre Smith fiasco, it was already clearly apparent that he wasn't on the same level as Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe from an intellectual standpoint. Jason Smith probably came across as the brightest of the bunch, which confirmed my initial read on him. The mean streak was something he also verbalized when he said he takes pride in "assualting someone," on the field. Eugene Monroe was not very far behind but really impressed scouts that he was "All in," announcing his intent to participate in all the drills. Michael Oher is not particularly eloquent, but that has more to do with his personality type being more of a quiet type. However he doesn't say anything that raises any red flags. His answers are concise and to the point. Also, while Andre Smith's presser didn't raise major concerns - he had an average conference - there were a few things that you took notes on. He didn't elaborate on the improper conduct incident prior to the Sugar Bowl, simply repeating, "bad judgement." Also the undecisiveness to work out was curious. At the time, not a knock, but it was a tell tale sign of things to come.

Work Outs
In the fundamental workouts I was expecting Michael Oher to shine the brightest. I expected Monroe to simply confirm his on field performance with his measurables. Anything extra would just help his cause. I expected Jason Smith to perform better in speed and quickness excercises but not show much in strength excercises like the bench press. Andre Smith had already left the day before. Michael Oher disappointed. Monroe did what I expected. And Jason Smith surprised everybody. Oher had the least measurables in comparable events. The one thing he could hang his hat on was the shuttle. However I was expecting him to be significantly better that the rest, which he wasn't, and in some cases didn't do as well. Monroe did well, but nothing spectacular. Exactly what I expected. Jason Smith surprised with his bench press. You expected him to be the weakest of the bunch, but he displayed better power and strength than the others.

In the linemen specific drills, Monroe shined. His footwork and technique was the standard for the day. He was clearly the most polished. Jason Smith performed them just as well, but he was stiff in his performance. Monroe just seemed more natural. Smith more forced. Michael Oher continued to disappoint, his performance a microcosm of what his season has been. Inconsistent. I've seen him fall on a false start 40. He nearly tripped over himself in a backpedal swivel drill. He lunged on a drive blocking drill when he should have kept his feet under his nose, putting himself off balance. He also went the wrong direction when he was on the fly intructed to go in another direction. All the while performing them effectively on occassion, clearly getting by on his functional football strength and speed. Now this is where the learning disability comes in to question. Oher also seemed nervous and clearly worried about his performance. Take away these two concerns, and he just might display what you expect him and be a top performer.

Post Combine

1. Eugene Monroe
2. Jason Smith
3. Michael Oher
4. Andre Smith

Monroe maintains his top spot because he didn't hurt his stock, and he was the smoothest in performance drills. Jason Smith doesn't move in my rankings, but what he did was significantly close the gap with Monroe. He is clearly the most intelligent and athletic of the bunch. With that recipe, he now has the highest upside, with a floor which should be equal to what Monroe is now. Remember he hasn't been playing LT as long as Monroe has, and with more development could conceivably pass him. Something else that he has that Monroe doesn't is a mean streak where he emphatically finishes off his blocks. Michael Oher, raises some concerns, but I maintain that his on the field performance should be the ultimate way to judge him. I think his learning disability may have put him at a disadvantage if he didn't have the kind of training to perform the drills that Jason Smith did at a place like API. If you're drafting Oher, it's with the idea of longer term development. The disability may make for a steeper learning curve when it comes to digesting a NFL playbook. Also, the nervousness is something that would have to be worked out with reps. I still think he has a very high upside, once you worked those kinks out. But he is not ready to be the no. 1 overall pick. If they do pull the trigger on a left tackle with the first pick then the decision comes down to what you want.

Do you want someone who can step right in and impact the team? Then you have to go with Eugene Monroe. Or are you looking longer term at a guy who can be a super elite left tackle? Then you can take a guy who may not have the initial impact that Monroe does, with Jason Smith. I used to dock him with the idea that he was best suited for a zone blocking scheme. But he changed my mind about that by showing the power, and the mean streak to be able to fit right in with what Detroit is trying to do. Andre Smith hurt his stock a lot and he officially will now go after Oher. He may even fall behind guys like Ebon Britton and Jamon Meredith.

Other Tackles
Before the combine I predetermined that I'd keep an eye on Loadholdt, Britton, Meredith, and Fenuki Tupou. Britton did not perform anything. Loadholdt was okay. I was hoping he could be a guy to develop as a Left Tackle, but they kept showing how his feet is just not suited for it at the next level. Jamon Meredith acutally jumped out on the screen. He is a very athletic tackle who also looked good in position drills. Fenuki is a guy I'm hoping to target at in the second day. He was interesting because I had preconceived perceptions of him. I thought he was going be more of a muscle head, but he was doughy and flabby. While that disappointed me, he was actually light on his feet and had a nice mean streak, and performed position drills pretty impressively.

The one guy who will now be on everyone's radar is Nebraska's Lydon Murtha. He was the workout warrior of all offensive linemen. Not just the tackles. He flew in the 40 posting not just the only sub 5 second time, but a sub 4.9 time (4.89). Fastest shuttle, fastest cone, 2nd farthest long jump by an inch, 2nd highest verticle by a half inch. And in position drills, his speed and quickness made him jump out heads and shoulders above the 2nd tier tackles. I would say he and Meredith looked best. Most impressive about this is that Murtha has similar size with the top 3. 6'-7" and 307 pounds. This guy has the tools to be good at pass protection and perfect for zone blocking.


February 22nd, 2009, 6:58 pm
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