We’ve taken a look at some pass-rusher options for the Washington Redskins in this year’s draft, including Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt and Ryan Kerrigan. But the Redskins also have questions along the offensive line, and the argument could be made that if Quinn is gone, that’s an area they should address.
Trent Williams is entrenched at left tackle, but it’s uncetain who will play right tackle. The Redskins gave up a third-round pick in this year’s draft to obtain Jammal Brown from the Saints before last season. Brown’s surgically-repaired right hip was slow to recover and he didn’t hit his stride until the final month or two of the season. But he’s due to become a free agent and would rather play left tackle.
Stephon Heyer also will be a free agent, and hasn’t been the most reliable during his career. That leaves Clint Oldenburg, who was hurt all of last season, and Selvish Capers, who was on the practice squad.
So, if he’s still available by the time the Redskins are on the clock at No. 10, USC’s Tyron Smith could draw the team’s interest. Most mock drafts have Smith going anywhere from ninth to 13th.
At 6-foot-5 and a very lean 307 pounds, Smith has great size and athleticism. A two-year starter at USC, he’s not as seasoned as some of the other tackles in the draft. But none are believed to have the ultimate potential that Smith possesses.
“I think that [Boston College’s] Anthony Castonzo’s probably the most NFL-ready and consistent” said ESPN’s Todd McShay. “Gabe Carimi [of Wisconsin] right behind him. Castonzo is a better fit at left tackle, and I think Carimi at right tackle. But the upside in terms of the guy who could develop into being the best in this year’s class, I think, is Tyron Smith.”
Smith isn’t overwhelmingly explosive, but has long arms (36-1/2 inches), big hands (11 inches) and is still growing into his frame. He said at the NFL Combine in February that he didn’t give up a sack all of last season.
At the start of USC’s 2010 football season, Smith weighed just 285 pounds. But he changed his diet and concentrated on bulking up the right way, and by the time the combine rolled around, Smith weighed in at 307 pounds.
“Basically, I stared eating right. I stopped eating junk food. I ate right three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner and little snacks in between,” he said. “I surprised myself when I hit the 300 mark.”
At USC’s pro day earlier this month, Smith recorded a 29-inch vertical leap and ran the short shuttle in 4.68 seconds, and the three-cone drill in 7.48 seconds. He recorded 31 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
Some draft analysts believe that Smith could begin his career at right tackle before ultimately moving to left tackle. But with Williams at left tackle, a position change wouldn’t be necessary for Smith, who said he last played left tackle as a backup his freshman year of college.
“I could go either way,” he said. “I’m a high-effort guy with speed and power both.”
Smith is scheduled to visit Redskins Park on Tuesday, April 19.