The Straight Dope Under the Microscope: Jason Smith
BREAKDOWN - JASON SMITH
Jason Smith is a strong, feisty player who competes through the whistle. You don’t have to ask him to hustle. He is much stronger in his upper body than his lower body. His versatility has become almost legendary in the Big XII.
He has a great burst of explosion off the line. He is one of the most mobile offensive tackles ever to enter the league. When he is out in space he is not uncomfortable, but he needs work on his in-line foot movement.
He is smart. He reads the play before it happens, reacts to the flow and has the speed to make up for mistakes.
As a pass blocker he has a deadly one–two punch. The glide and slide to chip the edge rushers and the strong, long arms to punch–stop the bull rushers. However, he does not yet have enough strength to sustain his blocks on the strongest and most crafty defensive lineman.
When it comes to run blocking he has all of the necessary tools; nasty, quick, smart and thorough. But he comes from the dreaded “S” word, the spread offense. This helped his quarterback, Robert Griffith, run wild at Baylor; but Bulger is not bolting around one of his tackles any time soon.
The spread philosophy demanded he initiate his attack from a two–point technique. This has led to the coach-able, yet, bad habits of standing up too straight, which allows some defenders to attack him under his shoulders.
His college back story is as fluid as he is. In 2005, he started eight games at tight end. The next year he began his long standing starting tenure at left tackle. His final year in Waco, he accomplished the near impossible, he became the first Baylor player in more than 20 years to garner an All-American nod.
His overall length and bulk are average for a tackle. However, weight room work will not be futile as his natural shape allows for soon–to–be added girth and strength.
To no one’s surprise, he is faster than most due to his tight end grooming.
In the all important character category he grades out with A’s across the board.
In perhaps the more significant injury history category, his only blemish is missing five games in 2007 with an MCL mishap.
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