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On February 25, Banks Says: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama

Posted by Matt Terl on February 25, 2009 – 3:51 pm

Just over a month after version 1.0, Don Banks returns to update his mock draft based on the impressions gleaned at the NFL Scouting Combine. Last time, he had DT B.J. Raji heading to the Redskins with the 13th pick, which seemed reasonable enough.

This time around, Raji is off the board to Oakland at pick number 7 (and, though Banks doesn’t mention it, it seems reasonable to assume that he was writing this one while the Haynesworth-to-the-Redskins rumors were at their zenith yesterday, which could’ve led to the assumption that DT was less of a need).

So where do we go, according to Banks? How about Andre Smith, OT. From a media standpoint, it’s a golden pick, one where the story writes itself — the Outland Trophy winner out of Alabama would join current OT Chris Samuels, who left Alabama in 1999 after winning the Outland Trophy.

So that’s one upside. Smith’s comments during his brief stint at the Combine offer another:

Q: Did you follow Willie Anderson?

Smith: No. I followed Chris Samuels a lot.

And, later in the questioning…

Q: Why did you follow Samuels?

Smith: I didn’t follow him until I got into college because I grew up a Florida State fan. He was the best lineman in Alabama history. I wanted to mimic his game and try to have the same accomplishments he did.

Keep in mind, at this point in the Combine interviewing process, an enormous number of questions focus on the possibility that Smith might be taken FIRST OVERALL by the Lions, and how he would deal with that. Now, less than a week later, Don Banks drops him to 13 and has this to say about him:

After the disastrous impression Smith left at the combine, I’m willing to admit this could be a bit high for the tackle, who some teams feel could now last into the 20s of the first round. But I’m factoring in the Redskins being desperate for a tackle, and that there’s time for Smith to execute some rehabilitation to his reputation. Some scouts downgrade Smith because his body is really more guard-like than tackle-like, and say he’s not worth stretching for.

In case you missed it are wondering what could possibly create this “disastrous impression,” Smith showed up overweight, interviewed poorly (at best), and ultimately left the combine early and unexpectedly. So that’s the not-insubstantial downside.

But he’s got a world of talent and potential, he shares an agent with DeAngelo Hall, and he’s a BEAST on the tackle eligible play.

If the team’s free agent moves focus on the defense as rumored, and if Smith gets his act together (and his weight down) just a bit, this could be a very sensible pick indeed.

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