Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Jason Smith
Jason Smith (OT)
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 309
College: Baylor
Conference: Big 12
Hometown: Dallas, TX
High School: W.T. White
Featured Prospects
Selected by: St. Louis Rams
Round: 1
Pick (Overall): 2 (2)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: The Rams tab the ultra-athletic Smith to replace Orlando Pace at left tackle. Smith has outstanding feet and movement skills. He will not only protect Marc Bulger's blind side, but he'll provide the push on the edge to spring Steven Jackson for long runs. With Smith in place, the Rams have completed the process of rebuilding an offensive line that struggled mightily last season.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

A converted tight end with three years as a starter on a veteran-laden offensive line that featured four returning starters in 2008. It proved to be a season of redemption for the fifth-year senior, who was limited to seven games as a junior due to a MCL sprain in his right knee.


Known for his pass-protection skills, Smith displayed solid drive-blocking technique in 2008. The team gained more than 65% of its rushing yardage on running plays to the left. With Smith leading the way, the Bears finished 21st in the nation and third in the Big Twelve Conference with an average of 195.75 yards per game on the ground. With their left tackle hobbled in 2007, Baylor ranked 113th nationally with 77.83 yards per game rushing.


Smith earned All-American honors in 2008 and became the school's first non-special teams All-American since safety Adrian Robinson in 1995. He also became the Bears' first All-American offensive lineman since Mark Adickes in 1975 to receive national postseason honors. Only seven other offensive linemen since Barton Koch in 1930 have been able to claim All-American recognition in school history.


Smith was a standout performer at W.T. White High School, where he was named to The Dallas Morning News Top 100 Area List (No. 95) as a senior. After earning first-team All-District honors as a sophomore and junior at offensive tackle, he moved to tight end, serving as team captain during his senior season.


That year, he caught seven passes for 101 yards and one touchdown en route to 2003 All-District 10-5A honors. The two-time team Most Valuable Player also competed in the 2004 Coca-Cola High School Football All-Star Game.


Smith enrolled at Baylor in 2004, spending the season performing on the scout team as a tight end. He would be named that squad's MVP after the schedule was concluded. He was chosen Baylor's Most Improved Player in 2005, starting eight games at tight end. He made six of the thirteen receptions by Baylor tight ends that year, gaining 70 yards (11.7-yard average) that included a 2-yard touchdown vs. Oklahoma State.


Smith shifted from tight end to right offensive tackle in 2006, starting all 12 games. He delivered 71 knockdowns and six touchdown-resulting blocks, leading the offense by appearing in 789 plays. A right knee sprain in the 2007 season opener vs. Texas Christian put Smith on the shelf for the next three contests. He returned, but re-injured the same knee vs. Colorado and missed two more games.


Played 436 of the team's 859 offensive snaps, but managed to pace the Bears with 47 knockdowns and six touchdown-resulting blocks. In four of the seven games he appeared in, he did not allow his main coverage assignment to record a tackle. Based on that impressive showing, he was named All-Big Twelve Conference honorable mention by the Associated Press.


Nicknamed "Smooth," for his ability to easily slide out and lead on the sweep, Smith was an All-American and unanimous All-Big Twelve Conference first-team choice. The Bears' co-MVP delivered 96 knockdowns and led conference down linemen with 17 touchdown-resulting blocks. The team's 29 scoring runs rank third on the school's single-season list and were the most by a Bears' squad since 1994.


High School

Attended W.T. White (Dallas, Tex.) High School, playing football for head coach Mike Zuffuto...Named to The Dallas Morning News Top 100 Area List (No. 95) as a senior...After earning first-team All-District honors as a sophomore and junior at offensive tackle, he moved to tight end, serving as team captain during his senior season...That year, he caught seven passes for 101 yards and one touchdown en route to 2003 All-District 10-5A honors...The two-time team Most Valuable Player also competed in the 2004 Coca-Cola High School Football All-Star Game.


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Analysis

Positives: Tall, athletic left tackle prospect. Excellent straight-line speed and hustle, getting downfield on screens and long runs. Can pull and trap, running smoothly and adjusting to oncoming defenders. Moves to the second level quickly, using good angles to keep linebackers out of the play. Should work well in zone-blocking schemes with his ability to lock onto defenders and move. Gets down quickly to cut block despite his height. Adjusts well to outside blitzers. Willing to throw his man to the ground and keep him there. Has made significant improvement in terms of technique and strength over the past two years at left tackle.


Negatives: Typically operates out of a two-point stance for Baylor. Raw in his pass-set technique, standing a bit upright and backpedaling instead of sliding to mirror his man. Locks onto his man at first, but eventually loses his balance and grip due to his average upper-body strength and footwork. Does not have much of a punch in pass protection. Can lose the hands battle on the line. Could use a bit more bulk in the lower body to be more effective as a drive blocker. May initially have to be moved inside to left guard for a zone-blocking team.


Compares To: ERIC STEINBACH, Cleveland -- Steinbach is an offensive guard, but both have the initial quickness and outstanding athleticism to excel in a zone-blocking scheme as an interior lineman. Smith needs to add at least another 20 pounds of bulk to handle the rigors of playing left tackle at the next level. His lack of great footwork and need to improve his stance could be covered up better playing inside for a year or two because he's still a neophyte at the left tackle position (19 starts). Once his body matures, his athletic skills will make him a quality left tackle in the mold of another former college tight end, Jason Peters (Buffalo).


Injury Report

2007: Suffered a right knee medial collateral ligament sprain vs. Texas Christian (9/01) in the season opener, missing the next three games vs. Rice (9/08), Texas State (9/15) and Buffalo (9/22)...Returned vs. Texas A&M (9/29), but re-injured his knee the following week vs. Colorado (10/06), sitting out the next two contests vs. Kansas (10/13) and Texas (10/20).


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