Monday, June 22, 2009

DE Bryan Smith's Opportunity

I read this article about second year pro Bryan Smith. Leo Pizzini started the article by stating some facts about Bryan Smith's build and college career.
Bryan Smith stands at 6'2" and weighs in at 250 lbs. He has been trying to build more mass, but has also stated that he feels good about playing at or around 250 lbs.
He is conventionally undersized for an Eagles' defensive end. In fact, Chris Gocong was converted to strong side linebacker from defensive end and weighs about 265 lbs.
At McNeese State, Bryan Smith was a two time Division 1-AA All-American and conference defensive player of the year. He recorded 31 sacks and 187 tackles from 2005 through 2007.
Smith is known for his burst and straight line speed coming off of the edge and rushing the passer. At the NFL combine in 2008, Smith ran a somewhat disappointing 4.75 second forty yard dash.

Smith will have a lot of trouble getting any spot on the defensive line this year. Trent Cole is a lock for Right End. Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson are the starting tackles. The Left Defensive End spot is where theoretically Smith could see some time. Currently there is a highly reported "position battle" between Victor Abiamiri, Juqua Parker, and Chris Clemons. The problem lies in the fact that there is so much competition ahead of him. All three of those ends have more experience than Smith, and can arguably play better than him.
It would make a lot of sense for him to convert to a Linebacker position:
I also can't help seeing Bryan Smith in another position besides linebacker. He appears to be formed in the raw mold of a Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas.
Not to say that his expectations should be set to those kinds of hall-of-fame and greatest-ever standards, but it's fair to expect a shadow of their style of game from Smith.
There is a problem still.
In Jimmy Johnson's defensive scheme, the linebackers are critically required to do a quality job in coverage.
Omar Gaither was a former starter at middle linebacker and was bumped from the weak side linebacker position (in 2008) by Akeem Jordan, largely for his pass coverage abilities.

If Bryan Smith can make the conversion to LB and work on his pass coverage skills ALL before training camp then I think that he may have a shot to make the roster this year and play in a reserve role behind Chris Gocong.

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