Andre Smith, potential stud tackle from Alabama, could be the latest player to significantly fall from an NFL combine screw up. Most pundits had Smith locked into the #2 spot in the draft behind Matthew Stafford. Going #2 could guarantee Smith over $30 million just for signing on the dotted line. Now, he may slip into the later part of the 1st round depending on the reaction to his combine “performance.”
Andre Smith, like some top prospects, wasn’t going to workout at the combine. There’s little to gain from the meat market, so why go through it all. Smith showed up to do a few interviews and smile for the camera. Well, he arrived out of shape – and it wasn’t the camera’s fault. Smith looked like he hadn’t worked out since the season – leaving most to question his dedication and work ethic. This is the most important time in his life and he could be throwing away a bunch of money over the next 6 years of his football career.
In addition, Smith threw interviewers for a loop by giving a bunch of different reasons for not working out at the combine. As a young guy that is about to get paid a ton of money based on your potential – not the body of work on Sundays – but potential to succeed, why would you do that? Seriously, to not do everything in your power to impress every single coach/owner/scout transitioning from college football to the NFL is a deadly sin. You never know who is going to trade up to draft you. Integrity and honesty shouldn’t creep into their minds when thinking about you as an investment.
This might all be water under the bridge. Maybe Andre Smith gets picked in the top-5, maybe even #2 like the early projections. But if he starts to fall – watch out. It could be another Aaron Rodgers watch where he falls into the 20s. On paper, that would be a tremendous value for teams that made the playoffs last year – course, most teams care about work ethic, chemistry and other intangibles more than sheer talent on the professional level, so who knows…
Teams like Tampa Bay, Detroit and Atlanta are interesting thoughts between #19 and #25 that could potentially target Smith if he falls. Consider Atlanta – most have them earmarked for a defensive lineman, safety or tight end early, but given the value Smith could have, it would be hard to pass up. Todd Weiner recently retired and having Sam Baker on the other side of Andre Smith could be dominant for years to come. Course, everyone is questioning Andre Smith about a lot things right about now….