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Top 10 Things to Look for in the 2009 NFL Draft

SHREVEPORT, LA - DECEMBER 28:  Andre Smith #71 of Alabama makes a touchdown against Oklahoma State on December 28, 2006 during the PetroSun Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Oklahoma State defeated Alabama 34-31.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Football ManiaxsSenior Writer IApril 21, 2009

By Derek Lofland.

The NFL draft always creates a lot of excitement. Here are 10 things that I’m going to be looking at this upcoming weekend.

10) How much did Andre Smith hurt his draft stock by leaving the NFL combine? 

It is difficult to say. The kid made a mistake by not telling his group leader that he was leaving the combine early. You can forgive that.

The problem is that not only did he leave the combine early, but also, he was suspended from the Sugar Bowl for hiring an agent, thus forfeiting his college eligibility.

If that weren’t enough, he had a very poor showing at his Alabama Pro Day. There have been questions about his foot speed and his work ethic. Now he has decided to fire his agent a week before the draft. It’s just a really bad mix.

I don’t get to scout every college player, so it’s hard for me to say if I was a NFL GM that I wouldn’t take the guy. But based on everything I’ve read, I wouldn’t invest a top ten pick in Andre Smith, knowing I would have to pay $20 million guaranteed to a guy who might eat his way out of the NFL in two years.

If nothing else, he hasn’t shown that he doesn’t have the maturity to handle guaranteed money like a top ten pick receives.

Imagine his potential for mistakes with $20 million on his ATM card. He seems prone to dumb decisions at a time when he has every incentive to be making good ones.

When Mel Kiper Jr. did his mock draft back on Jan. 22, he had Andre Smith as the second pick in the NFL draft going to the St. Louis Rams.

I would be shocked if he goes there. Kiper now has him going Number 13 to the Washington Redskins. Todd McShay has him going No. 10 to the San Francisco 49ers.

The one team that seems prone to taking questionable players in the top ten is the Cincinnati Bengals. They are selecting No. 6 and could desperately use a left tackle.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up wearing a Cincinnati uniform after draft day is all said and done.

While he deserves to drop more, Cincinnati and Smith may be a perfect fit, especially if Cincinnati hasn’t learned from some of their past draft day mistakes...

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