With the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Jason Smith, Offensive Tackle, from Baylor University. Two months ago, most people would have been left scratching their heads at this proclamation by Roger Goodell. “Jason Smith? Don’t you mean Andre Smith from Alabama?” It’s incredible what the post-collegiate draft season can bring, but here’s a look at why Jason Smith, the 6’5″, 310 pounder from Baylor makes the most sense.
Let us be clear that this kid is a phenomenal talent. He’s sculpted as a physical duplicate of last year’s offensive rookie of the year, 3rd runner-up, Ryan Clady. Both have the unbelievable athleticism, nimble feet, and tremendous agility needed to protect the QB’s blind-side. Given the recent success of highly touted left tackles (including Ryan Clady, Jake Long, Brandon Albert, and Joe Thomas), Jason Smith will likely benefit from their precedent.
More obviously, we are in one of the most severe economic downturns since the Great Depression, and all indications point to a situation similar to that which unfolded with last year’s first overall pick, Jake Long. Long was the consensus choice for the Dolphins for the fact that he was willing to accept significantly less money, when compared to the other top prospects. This will almost undoubtedly be the case with Smith, who will certainly come with a cheaper price tag than quarterback Matt Stafford from Georgia.
After the trade that acquired Julian Peterson from the Seahawks, the likelihood that the Lions select Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry decreased significantly. This left quarterback and left tackle as the Lion’s two top priorities. People will point to the golden rule, “Don’t pass on a franchise QB unless you have one”, but let’s be honest here, the Lions cannot afford to miss on another top pick. With questions still hovering over Stafford, it’s a monumental risk that this franchise simply cannot endure.
Thus in these troublesome times for our economy, and for Lions fans, Jason Smith is the pick. The affordable and undeniably secure option who will be a fixture on their 0-line for the next 10 years.