Since we've been talking tackles so much lately, I have to pass along this bit of "must read" reading from Football Outsiders. From their look at the top four OT prospects in this year's draft. Here are a couple of highlights, but you've got to read the whole thing.
Smith's Combine performance helped vault him to the top of the tackle heap. He tied Alex Boone of Ohio State for the position lead with 33 bench reps. He ran a competitive 5.22 40. He weighed in at a lean 309 pounds. Most importantly, he didn't do anything stupid: no missed meetings or unexplained absences. Andre Smith and Michael Oher raised questions at the Combine. Jason Smith answered questions. Smith didn't run or lift at Baylor's Pro Day, but he participated in position drills and made another positive impression.
Monroe battled Chris Long (now with the Rams) every day in practice. He competed alongside Brandon Albert (now with the Chiefs) for two seasons. He patterned his game on D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the Virginia tackle whose college career ended the year Monroe arrived. It's the kind of environment that galvanizes a young man into an NFL-ready left tackle, and Monroe is the most polished of the Big Four prospects.
Mark Murphy thinks Oher is starting to live up to his billing. "He might be a little underrated now. Every time I watched him he looked really good."
For those who follow Alabama football closely, Smith's February judgment lapses came as no surprise. No one doubts his raw power or ability to turn it on at the snap. But whispers of Smith's immaturity, ego, and poor work habits became howls after the Combine. Smith could be Jonathan Ogden, or he could be Tony Mandarich.