Offensive tackle Andre Smith remains high on the Bengals’ draft board, according to 1530Homer’s Lance McAlister.
"An NFL source, traveling to Pro Days this week, tells me they heard a key member of the Bengals brass indicate the team has Alabama’s OT Andre Smith high on the draft board. At least one member of the Bengals decision-making staff wants to take Smith, according the the discussion. In the same conversation, the Bengals official said he liked the way the draft board will fall and sensed running back will be the value position when the team’s on the clock in the second round. UConn’s Donald Brown was mentioned by name."
Real? Smoke? Who knows, but those “irons in the fire with guys on the offensive line in free agency” that head coach Marvin Lewis mentioned at the league meeting earlier this week seem to be cooling fast. One of those irons was apparently former Cleveland RT Kevin Schaffer, who signed with the Bears yesterday. Ex-Bengal Mike Goff, who was mentioned as a possible returnee, is also gone to the Chiefs.
Meanwhile, Smith’s decline has apparently been less steep than some draftniks have imagined. Last evening, I finally had the leisure time to give Tuesday’s espn.com draft podcast a listen. Among other subjects, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay discussed the ongoing Smith saga. Despite, in McShay’s estimation, “messing up every part of the process” since the end of the college season, neither he nor Kiper see Smith dropping past Washington at 13.
What’s kept him afloat? Not his film, said Kiper, but rather, “Saban has saved him.” Alabama coach Nick Saban, a well-respected figure in NFL circles, has gone to bat for Smith both publicly and behind the scenes. “Saban has not thrown him under the bus,” Kiper said. “He could have easily, privately given some negative feedback.” That he has not “is really helping.”
Need is also buoying up all the OTs and pass-rushing DEs and LBs at the top of the draft. McShay noted that nearly all the teams in the top 10 need a tackle, a pass-rusher, or both. He predicts a run on both at the top of the draft.
More on Donald Brown here.