Andre Smith's Pro Day Raises More Questions

Andre Smith's Pro Day Raises More Questions

Offensive tackle Andre Smith fueled rather than quelled controversy Wednesday with a workout at Alabama's Pro Day event that was less than average by anybody's standards, and certainly not befitting a player projected to be a top ten pick in the NFL draft.

Smith measured 6-feet-four-and-one-quarter inches and 325 pounds, down from 323 pounds at the combine in February, then struggled to bench press 225 pounds only 19 times.

He then opted to run the 40-yard dash shirtless, thereby exposing his ample midsection for the entire time it took to jiggle through the event, which was somewhere between 5.25 and 5.35 seconds.

The Outland Trophy winner brought undue attention on himself during the combine when he went through interviews and medical tests, but left Indianapolis without telling anybody while other players worked out on the field.

After the Pro Day show, Smith talked to the media, including the Montgomery Advertiser, about his Indianapolis disappearance and his latest workout.

"I think I did an outstanding job," Smith said of a workout that was far from outstanding in a good way.

"I just made a bad decision on leaving the Combine," he added. "If I had to do it all over again, I would have handled it differently. I just made a bad decision on leaving but I think I made a great football decision as far as getting back and start working out with my personal trainer."

But, based on the results of the Pro Day workout, that personal training didn't put Smith among the top players at his position in this draft. Of the three tackles invited to the combine who benched few times than Smith, only Florida's Jason Watkins (18 reps) is considered a sure bet to be drafted at all - and he is currently ranked by NFLDraftScout.com as the 139th prospect of the 2009 draft.

As damaging as Smith's lack of eye-popping bench press numbers might appear, NFL scouts will certainly take into consideration his long arms. Players with longer arms are at a natural disadvantage when lifting heavy weights and Smith (35 3/8") has the second longest arms of any offensive tackle measured at the 2009 Combine. Only the 6-8, 332 pound Phil Loadholt from Oklahoma has longer arms (36 1/2"), though he managed to lift the 24 times at the Combine (and subsequently 26 times at Tuesday's Pro Day).

Smith's results in the 40-yard dash, three cone drill (7.86), 20 yard shuttle (4.93), vertical jump (25") and broad jump (7'10") were all marginal, at best. None of his results would have finished within the top ten among offensive tackles tested at the Combine.

As disappointing as Smith might have been in the timed drills, he did, according to multiple sources on hand for the workout, showcase the remarkable agility in blocking exercises that had generated so much attention from scouts in the first place.

"He really did move surprisingly well in blocking drills," one AFC scout told me. "We weren't so sure after the other [drills]. Some guys were rolling their eyes at how bad he looked with his shirt off, but he moves pretty well for a big guy as it went and he didn't try to BS his way through why he left the Combine."

Quarterback John Parker Wilson, safety Rashad Johnson, center Antoine Caldwell, and junior running back Glen Coffee were among the nine other former
Crimson Tide players who worked out for scouts at Alabama Tuesday. Although, considering that each of the other players who had been invited to the Combine, had already worked out for scouts, it was obvious who was the focus of all the attention.

Said the general manager, jokingly, "You mean there were other guys working out today?"

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