I was occupied over the weekend, so I didn’t see this until today (it's late, I know), but what to make of Andre Smith’s disappearance from the NFL Draft combine?
Yeah, he apologized for it, as he should’ve, but this was the last thing that the reigning Outland Trophy winner needed, with the 2009 NFL Draft only two months away.
Coming into the combine, few prospects had more of a spotlight on them than Smith. When it comes to his actual talent, there are questions about his pass-blocking (or are there?), but it‘s not footwork, agility, 40 time, or anything of that nature that trips up many a prospect that has him under scrutiny.
His long-term struggles with weight and staying in shape have been well-documented, and that may have been a major reason why he 86ed it in Indy.
Most recently before his disappearing act in Indy, he was suspended for Alabama’s Sugar Bowl loss to Utah because he blatantly withheld information from coach Nick Saban and the school regarding contact with an agent rep. Not a smart move, to say the least.
Just how far will he fall? He has known talents, but a lot will depend on what kind of shape he is in at his Pro Day. If he shows up in the right shape, shows that he has his head in the right place, then he’ll be back in the mix for a spot in the top 10, with the Rams, Cincinnati, Oakland, and possibly Seattle and Jacksonville all looking for offensive linemen.
If he doesn‘t, it’s a realistic possibility that he drops to the Redskins…or farther. In the end, he could end up with Detroit after all…just not in the spot many of us thought he might not too long ago. And the drop may not stop at No. 20, depending on whose opinion you like to rely on.
The big question is whether or not he’s really worth the investment. Talent and potential-wise, there‘s a reason why he‘s been so high on everyone‘s board all this time. But there are only so many times you can make mistakes and apologize for them, and the pattern that he’s setting isn’t an encouraging one, not for his future or for the teams.