Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
Name: Jason Smith
Height: 6052 E
Weight: 312 E
40 Time: 5.09 E
Smith is a very good athlete, however I was a little disappointed as I did not see the eye-popping athleticism with Smith that I saw with Monroe and Oher. Make one thing clear: He is still a good enough athlete to be potentially elite at LT. He’s just not a freak athlete like Oher or Monroe. He has very good quickness and excellent fluidity, with plus balances as well. In truth, he may deserve a 7.0 for athleticism but I awarded those grades to Oher and Monroe, and Jason just isn’t as athletically gifted as they are.
Physical Talents: 6.5
This grade is a little tricky. He showed plenty of explosion and strength on tape, so I do not feel bad giving him a 6.5 in these categories. However, his body type is something of an enigma. He definitely put on weight (presumably good weight, as he excelled with the workouts) before the Combine, but is he capable of playing with it and keeping it? That is a good question, and one I can’t answer without “inside information”. I’m going to work off of what I see on film, and that means itty-bitty legs.
Body Type: 6.0
Smith is definitely a project. Looking at the positive, he is a very smart young man and it shows with his understanding of the playbook (just about the only guy I’ve graded who hasn’t made a “uh… what?” play or three at OT). However, his technique is terrible. I saw him make a couple really poor cut blocks, and he doesn’t have a punch. Too often he gets in front of the DE without punching or even latching on. Instinctively, I liked the awareness but he seemed to struggle catching LBs on the 2nd level.
Understands Playbook: 6.5
Proper Technique: 5.5
I really liked what I saw from Smith in terms of his nastiness. It’s ironic that of the “big four” OL, Smith played his senior year smallest and was arguably the toughest. He brings physicality in his pass protection as well, which I really like. It should be noted that the 6.0 Clutch grade is not a bad thing… but usually Baylor wasn’t really in a close situation for him to demonstrate his “clutch” ability.
Clutch Play: 6.0
Football Character: 6.5 – Tough as anyone, as high effort as anyone on that Baylor team.
Personal Character: 6.5 – Can’t find any flaws here, seems like a stand-up guy.
Durability: 6.5 – Has had a bit of injury trouble, but nothing this past year and shouldn’t be a major injury problem.
Play Strength: 6.0 – Surprisingly strong run-blocking, pass protection not as strong.
vs Speed Rush: 6.5 – It will take a rare athlete to challenge the corner with pure speed against Smith. Lack of punch allows defender to do better than they should here.
vs Bull Rush: 6.5 – Not the stud against the bull rush that Monroe was, occasionally loses the battle.
Footwork: 7.0 – Plays with a wide base and can move around very well.
Hand technique: 5.0 – Honestly, his technique looks like mine would if you threw me out there… I never played OL either.
2nd level blocking: 6.0 – Has the athleticism, has the desire, just misses sometimes.
Quickness off snap: 7.0 – Sets up off the snap very quickly. Can get under DEs in run blocking. Some concern because he played primarily with his hand off the ground.
Proper Balance: 6.5 – Natural knee-bender with good but not great balance.
Lateral Slide: 7.0 – Can get where he wants to very easily.
Errors: 6.0 – 3 penalties in four games is not particularly good, but not horrible either. Mental errors don’t exist.
Summary: Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are clearly the two best tackles in this class, at least of the group everyone is talking about. Both have the natural tools needed to become elite left tackles (assuming Smith can maintain his weight). Monroe is much more ready to contribute right away at tackle, Smith has more value at guard (especially if the added weight helps him anchor against the bull rush). What separate Smith and Monroe the most is that Smith definitely wants it more than Monroe does, he has a much nastier attitude that shows up on the field. Monroe has more natural ability, but if I am choosing to invest tens of millions of dollars I would choose Smith because he has the intelligence and the desire to become a great player. Monroe could become a better player than Smith, but he could also be an Alex-Barron clone. For that reason, I am giving Smith a grade just slightly higher than Monroe… Despite being raw, Smith is the safer pick.
Final Grade: 6.8 I
Games Scouted: Texas, Texas Tech, Wake Forest, UConn