Drew Boylhart 12/08
Andre Smith OT Alabama
Andre is a big, powerful offensive tackle. He has good overall athletic ability and shows strong mental stamina. He has quick feet and very powerful hands. Once Andre gets his hands on you while he is blocking, you might as well forget about completing what you started. He does a good job when pass blocking, but his strength is when he blocks for the running game. Andre has improved this year as he rounded into better shape.
NEEDS TO IMPROVE
There are a lot of question marks for me about Andre. First, he is too heavy to play LT at the next level. Being overweight affects his quickness. His lateral agility is not as good as it should be for a LT. He is overpowering his opponents, which has resulted in a lot of bad habits -- especially in pass blocking. He plays along side a LG who I believe is masking all of Andre's limitations and bad habits. That #78 jumps off the screen at me every time I watch Alabama play. I question Andre's ability to motivate himself to be the best he can be.
TALENT BOARD ROUND 2
Andre has first round talent, but as far as I'm concerned, there are a lot of questions to his game and I would not pick him too early. He reminds me a lot of Flozell Adams (OL Dallas Cowboys) who was picked in the second round of the 1998 draft. Flozell has done a good job, but he went through some big-time growing pains to get to where he is today. Andre, like Flozell, is a systems LT. I do not believe that Andre will be successful as a LT in the NFL in offensive systems like the Indianapolis Colts or the New England Patriots use. He is a road-grader that I believe is a better fit as a RT or guard and maybe, after a few seasons, could be moved to LT, but not until his pass blocking techniques become much better than they are right now. Andre would fit the Cowboys or the Steelers type of system and might be able to play LT for those teams. However, most teams should be looking at this kid as a RT, in my opinion, at least at first. To me, if he can be moved to LT later, that will be gravy. As long as Andre can get his hands on his opponent at the line of scrimmage in pass blocking he does a good job; but, if Andre' misses getting his hands on you at the line, then it's a free ride to the QB. All you see is big old Andre following that DE like a little puppy dog looking for someone to pet him. If Andre is covered up, his pass blocking skills are pretty good. However, if he's out on a island, then the QB is rolling to the other side of the formation right from the snap of the ball. That, my friends, is not a Top 10 Left Tackle in my book. Maybe it is in others, but not mine. Andre as a RT or Guard should be very good. If you draft him thinking he is going to be a great LT, I think you are going to be in for a shock. First round talent with a lot of question marks. Now if you want to talk about the kid next to Andre -- #78 Mike Johnson -- you might be talking about a possible 1st round top ten talent LT or LG for the NFL. #78, I feel, is a better prospect than Andre!