Baldinger: Watch the tape
This is how you evaluate Smith: You watch him play left tackle at Alabama. You just concentrate on
, the player. Any 21-year-old kid can make mistakes. This type of stuff doesn't bother me at all.
Smith dominated the Southeastern Conference. If you watch him against LSU in Baton Rouge, he didn't hear a snap count from his QB the entire day. There are tackles in the NFL who have been there for years who can't look at the ball and look at their man and move when the ball moves. Smith can do that.
You can see he's intense, he's interested, he finishes and he's never on the ground. He caves in the entire side of the line on almost every run. Smith is a great football player, and he's ready to play tomorrow in the NFL.
Once you know a guy's character is OK, I dismiss it. The mistakes, the agent stuff, whatever happened at the combine, I don't worry about that.
To me -- and I don't make a lot of comparisons -- Smith reminds me of
. Maybe Smith's best position is right tackle. Maybe it's guard. Some of the great tackles played guard their first year. I think Smith can play left tackle tomorrow for a whole lot of teams in this league.
Most left tackles are drafted high because they're good pass blockers. It's a passing league. The problem is most are lowsy run blockers. This guy is a very talented run blocker, and it's a lost art. He moves people.
If you take this kid off your draft board because of this kind of thing, you're crazy. To me,
is a top-10 pick in this draft. Maybe a top-five pick.