If Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are both off the board when the Bengals go on the clock at six, fans just say no to the idea of grabbing Alabama tackle Andre Smith. Sixty-three percent oppose the idea under those conditions, according to our completely unscientific internet poll, while 37% approve.
It’s a tough call. On the one hand, yes, Smith has screwed up by the numbers since the college season ended. On the other, you just can’t ignore the film.
Over at NFL.com, Steve Wyche reviews the OTs and starts by noting that Smith is headed to Detroit for a workout next week. Wyche believes that Smith is still a possibility for the Lions at No. 1, albeit a slim one.
NFL.com also tosses the question of evaluating Smith to Charlie Casserly and Brian Baldinger, both of whom remain high on Smith despite his post-season follies. Says Casserly:
The reason why you take a guy off the board is because there are legitimate character questions, which there aren’t here. You certainly can lower a guy because of work habits and competitiveness, there’s no question. That’s the decision you have to make with Smith.
Baldinger says that, to him, Smith remains a top-10 and possibly top-five-caliber selection, and that to take him off your draft board because of a bad combine and iffy pro day workout is “crazy.”
My take is that I’m fine with the Bengals picking Smith at six — IF they are prepared to do what’s obviously necessary. It’s clear that Smith is going to need a focused, structured program to achieve his full potential, so Cincinnati needs to be willing to put in the extra time, effort and perhaps even personnel to make sure that happens. Second, as John Thornton noted a while back, any o-lineman they draft needs to get into the program ASAP (and perhaps no OT more than Smith) if they are going to be any kind of effective in 2009. That means no dickering around and waiting for the slot to be established; the Bengals need to be proactive about signing Smith if they take him. It both gets him into that structured program faster, and increases the chance he can contribute this year.
New poll coming shortly.