Tag:Tyron Smith
Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:14 am

Source: OT Matt Kalil "set to return" to USC

Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil is "set to return" for his senior season according to a source close to the situation.

Kalil, 6-6 and 295 pounds, just finished his second season as the Trojans' starting left tackle. He earned First Team All Pac-12 honors and is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 3 overall prospect in the country. Though his older brother, Ryan, returned for his senior campaign at USC prior to the center being drafted in the second round of the 2007 draft by the Carolina Panthers, most expected Matt to leave early.

A high-ranking NFL scout confirmed that he'd also heard Kalil was "definitely leaning towards returning" and that the decision surprised he and his scouting peers, as well.

"If he does indeed return, it would be a bit surprising. He's the top offensive tackle in the country. The senior class [at offensive tackle] is a weak group. At worst, he'd be looking at a top ten pick. That fact alone would send most guys into the draft."

Kalil's remarkable combination of size and athleticism had kept the Dallas Cowboys' 2011 first round pick Tyron Smith playing on the right side during his career with the Trojans. That didn't keep Jerry Jones and his staff from selecting Smith with the No. 9 overall pick. Smith, incidentally, has performed well this season as the Cowboys' starting right tackle.

Kalil has long been projected to enter the 2012 draft. Chad Reuter and I have each projected him as a potential top five pick in our current first round mock drafts.

Should Kalil return, it could set off of chain reaction pushing other talented USC underclassmen -- including quarterback Matt Barkley -- to shun the NFL and return for their senior seasons. The Trojans' bowl ban ends this year. Considering the talent this team has potentially coming back, a return to national title contention would appear possible.
Posted on: May 9, 2011 4:41 pm

Finding the Fits -- The Offensive Line

Over the next two weeks I will be highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

After several strong years in a row for offensive tackles, the 2011 crop was lacking in elite talent -- at least when it comes to blindside protectors. The strength of the 2011 class lay on the opposite side, as many of the top blockers -- while left tackles in college -- will be asked to switch to the strongside in the NFL. This is likely to be the case with virtually all of this year's top tackles, including the first one selected (Tyron Smith) and the most celebrated offensive tackle of the class (four-year starter Gabe Carimi, the reigning Outland Trophy winner).

With Mike Pouncey and Danny Watkins each top 23 picks, some have mislabeled the 2011 crop of interior linemen as a very good one. In reality, the depth inside was worse than outside this year.

There are, however, plenty of intriguing schematic fits for this year's class.

This is the last of the Finding the Fit breakdowns for offensive prospects. Earlier, I broken down the quarterbacks , running backswide receivers and tight end fits.

Players are listed alphabetically.
Good Fits:

James Carpenter, Seattle Seahawks: Many were surprised to see Carpenter make the first round, though I was not . Carpenter had been steadily rising up draft boards following a quietly impressive week at the Senior Bowl in which he demonstrated the athleticism, versatility and toughness to "plug and play" at any of the four exterior positions. Some pegged quarterback as the Seahawks' greatest need, but considering the fact that the Seahawks received zero or negative yardage on a staggering 26% of their runs last season, upgrading their offensive line was clearly a focus. Carpenter isn't flashy, but he's the physical road-grading right tackle the Seahawks have been missing for years.

Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis Colts:
The knock on Castonzo was he wasn't as physical as some teams would prefer. Though he's made massive gains in the weight and strength department in his four seasons at Boston College (after starting as a 260 pound RT), he is still not the intimidator in the running game that most OL coaches are looking for. Castonzo does, however, possess good lateral agility, long arms and the dedication to play well immediately. For a team needing immediate help up front to keep Peyton Manning upright, Castonzo was the ideal fit. Castonzo, in fact, was the best fit for the Colts among any of the eight offensive linemen drafted in the first round.

Marcus Gilbert, Pittsburgh Steelers: As I mentioned previously, I had forecasted the Steelers taking an underrated and athletic left tackle from the SEC in Carpenter in the first round. With Carpenter off the board, the Steelers built their defensive line instead with Ohio State's Cameron Heyward at No. 31 overall, but found a similar blocker in Florida's Gilbert at No. 63. At 6-6, 330 pounds, Gilbert is bigger than Carpenter (and more ideal for Pittsburgh's preference for extra large blockers) and yet plays with a similar brand of physicality and toughness. He's capable of competing immediately for playing time at either left or right tackle.

Rodney Hudson, Kansas City Chiefs: A two-time winner of the Jacobs' Blocking Trophy as the best offensive lineman in the ACC, Hudson's consistency and athleticism are unquestioned. At only 6-2, 299 pounds (he played closer to 280 at Florida State), Hudson lacks the girth most teams prefer and will almost surely be asked to switch from his customary left guard position to center by the Chiefs. Kansas City operates out of a zone-blocking scheme, however, that places a premium on athleticism over mass in its offensive linemen. Furthermore, head coach Todd Haley prefers smaller, quicker offensive linemen, as well. I'm not as high on Kansas City's draft as some appear to be. Hudson is a significant exception, however. I believe he'll prove a Pro Bowler one day.

Andrew Jackson, Atlanta Falcons: Just as Hudson was an ideal match for the Chiefs due to his quick feet, "The President" is an intriguing fit for the power-based Atlanta attack. Jackson isn't a nimble athlete, but his size (6-5, 299), strength and tenacity could make him a pleasant late round (7th round, No. 210 overall) surprise for a Falcons team potentially in need of reinforcements up front with guards Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock scheduled for free agency. Jackson would have gone a few rounds higher had he not lost most of his senior season to a nagging ankle injury.

Questionable Fit:

Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys:
There is no denying Smith's athletic upside. If there is a tackle in this class who could wind up being a perennial Pro Bowler a few years from now, Smith is the favorite. That said, due to his athleticism, Smith's best position in the NFL will ultimately be on the left side -- a position he never played while at USC. Jerry Jones would like to believe his Cowboys were only a player or two away from legitimate Super Bowl contention... and perhaps he's right. Smith, however, is likelier to struggle as a rookie than star, making him an questionable choice for a team largely built to win now.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 9:47 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 10:09 pm

Trojan Knee

Da'Quan Bowers isn't the only player facing scrunity about post-season knee surgery--Southern Cal offensive tackle Tyron Smith is also rumored to have had issues with his torn right meniscus on which he had surgery December 14th.

NFLDraftScout.com has confirmed that several teams have not seen an issue with Smith's knee, especially in light of his solid March 30th workout. Multiple team doctors and trainers also felt Smith's knee has progressed well, and foresaw no future issues.

Some teams will undoubtedly be somewhat cautious about Smith, who is trying to add weight while also rehabbing that knee--and asking four different teams will give you four different opinions. But is also important to understand that misinformation is king this time of year, and reports can be used to sway public opinion about players.

Positive reports about players are put into the media to lead other teams to trade up, pushing down another player team(s) really value.
Negative rumors are meant to play to people's generally risk-averse nature, hopefully resulting in players falling down boards and possibly even causing some teams selecting later to also trade up to find a "film value" pick.

Though we all know this game is played, it is very difficult for the media to ignore a big story or for teams to fight the urge to move up on draft weekend to get "their guy."

At this point in the draft process, Smith is still expected to be selected in the top 13 selections.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Tyron Smith, USC
Posted on: March 30, 2011 4:52 pm

No Ordinary Smith

Southern Cal tackle Tyron Smith took a step towards the top of the draft Thursday at the Trojan's pro day. With every NFL team represented, the 20 year-old Smith timed a 4.91 40 while weighing in at 310 pounds. Despite his ridiculously long 36 3/8" arms, today Smith also increased his bench mark from 29 to 31 reps.

Playing at 280 pounds most of the year, scouts wondered if he could put on weight--and keep it on. But since the end of the year, when he had surgery on a torn mensicus, he's put on 30 pounds--including three additional pounds since the Combine despite working hard for this crucial workout.

Given his youth and the intensity of NFL strength and conditioning programs, Smith should be able to at least stay above 300 pounds early in his career and probably approach 320 as his body matures.
It appears the knee surgery is a thing of the past given his workout today. Combining a clean bill of health with the weight-room bench he showed today, the functional strength he showed on the field (playing well at right tackle at a svelte 280), sub 5.0 speed (with a 10-yard split in the low 1.7's) and exceptional footwork in drills means he could be the first offensive tackle off the board next month.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: March 10, 2011 12:47 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2011 12:47 pm

Surprise Top Ten Picks

Each year at least one top ten selection surprises even those who follow the draft process very closely. Last year's draft included two such picks, with Buffalo picking running back C.J. Spiller and Jacksonville selecting California defensive lineman Tyson Alualu. The Chiefs took DE Tyson Jackson with the third pick in 2009, the Patriots ILB Jerod Mayo at #10 in 2008.

In today's "land of a thousand web sites", I'm sure someone picked some of these selections in the weeks leading up to the draft...but they were fairly surprising, even to some folks in the league.

There will certainly be some slight movement within the top ten of where the top seven or eight players in this draft end up: Denver could take DE Da'Quan Bowers instead of DT Marcell Dareus, Cincinnati could select QB Blaine Gabbert or Bowers instead of WR A.J. Green, etc.

But thinking a bit more outside of the box for this year's draft brings up some potential "wow" picks come April—open your mind before discounting these possibilities:

OT Tyron Smith to Arizona at #5:

Five years ago, the Cardinals picked Levi Brown with the fifth overall selection. If head coach Ken Whisenhunt gets a veteran quarterback to run his team in 2011 (Marc Bulger, Donovan McNabb, trade for Kevin Kolb), he may push for another offensive lineman to protect the signal caller—and Smith's ridiculous upside makes him the most likely targeted (though some teams love the athletic Nate Solder). Enough people are projecting Smith to Dallas at #9 that it's not worth a separate mention here--but people should not discount that possibility if they have in the past.

RB Mark Ingram to San Francisco at #7, Dallas at #9

Despite scouts' assertion that teams do not need to pick running backs high in the draft, one has been picked in the top ten five of the last six years. Ingram should be, at worst, a younger version of Niners' Frank Gore (who is a free agent after 2011 and missed 9 games over the past three seasons). At best? Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could buy into the Emmitt Smith comparisons.

LB Martez Wilson to San Francisco at #7

If pass rusher Von Miller is picked up before the 49ers select, they could look to the ultra-athletic Wilson to move outside. The only reason he wouldn't go in the top 11 (Houston would love him as a 3-4 ILB/OLB) is due to the herniated disc in his neck that cost him the 2009 season--but if team doctors give GMs the thumbs-up, it could send him high up boards.

DE/DT J.J. Watt to Tennessee at #8

Some have Dallas selecting the tall, athletic Watt with the ninth pick, and Tennessee could select DT Nick Fairley, DE Robert Quinn, or even one of the top two quarterbacks if they are available. But the Titans have potential free agents in Dave Ball and Jason Babin, and have valued players like Watt enough in recent years to consider him with their top selection. I could list DE Ryan Kerrigan here, but Watt could have a better chance at this spot because he could play inside or outside in their scheme.

DL Cameron Jordan to Dallas at #9

So maybe this isn't a HUGE stretch, but most talk right now is on Watt or CB Prince Amukamara going to Dallas (and I wanted to make the last an even five players). Jordan's pedigree (father, Steve, was a Pro Bowl tight end in Minnesota) and potential as a difference-maker in the 3-4 as a run-stuffer and pass-rusher could push him above the lankier Watt and others in the minds of the Cowboys' brain trust.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:03 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 10:15 am

Tyron Smith Gaining Momentum-and More

This morning at the first day of weigh-ins at the Scouting Combine, USC offensive lineman Tyron Smith stepped up to the scale, weighing at in 307 pounds. That's 22 pounds more than he weighed during the 2010 season, when he earned first team All-Pac-10 accolades as a second-year right tackle for the Trojans. (The only reason he did not start at left tackle was the presence of future first round pick Matt Kalil.)

Smith's hands were measured a massive 11 inches and his 36 3/8 inch arms are exactly what teams like to see on the edge, and among the largest at the Combine over the last decade.

Smith's lack of weight did not prevent him from standing up to many talented defenders on the strong side, including Cal's probable first round defensive lineman Cameron Jordan.

Scouts have questions about whether Smith can maintain that weight during training camp and the season, however. They will be comforted, in part, by the fact Smith just turned 20 years old in December. He should continue to grow over the next few years in an NFL strength and conditioning program.

If he decides to work out at that weight this week, and performs as expected, teams will consider using a top 15 selection to acquire his services.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: February 15, 2011 3:34 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 3:38 pm

Bowers, Smith not kneeding sympathy

NFLDraftScout.com has spoken with sources close to two top prospects, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson) and offensive tackle Tyron Smith (USC), who had surgeries on torn meniscuses after the 2010 season.

Bowers rehabbed his injury immediately following the surgery six weeks ago, but now feels no effects. His injury is not preventing him from performing any drills at the Athletes Performance Institute's Los Angeles facility. The results of tests run recently make him confident he can prove his athleticism is elite, allowing them to keep their top five grade on him.

Smith is also well on the way to recovery after playing through his injured meniscus, on which he had surgery following the team's final game against UCLA. He is performing all of the Combine drills without any lingering issues with the knee. After playing most of the year at around 280 pounds, Smith is also weighing over 300, which will only help the cause of a young player who just turned 20 in mid-December.

Scouts are, frankly, more likely to be impressed by their toughness suiting up while in pain than any reprecussion from the operations.

It is still unclear, however, which tests either player will perform at the Combine, because they will make their decisions after going through workouts the rest of this week. But whether they run the forty yard dash in Indianapolis or at their respective pro days, expect both to look healthy -- and excel.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Posted on: February 13, 2011 3:14 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2011 3:17 pm

Interviews most underrated component of Combine

The workouts get all of the attention and savvy NFL draft followers know that the medical grades are actually the most important part of the Combine.

One critical piece of the Combine pie that gets very little exposure is the player interview process.

In the past, the interviews teams get with players have only earned attention when something bizarre occurs -- like last year when the Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland asked then-Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant about his mother's ... uhhh... profession.

In reality, however, this is an integral part of the Combine.

Teams are attempting to learn through a 15 minute interview if the young man sitting opposite them is one of the rare individuals who will actually work harder after signing a multi-million dollar contract.

When I visited Athletes Performance for an article two years ago on the process high-ranking athletes go through in Combine preparation, everyone there was willing to talk about the revolutionary techniques in exercise, nutrition and rehabilitation. Few, however, talk about the significant coaching that players go through to prepare for interviews.

Based on polling various scouts throughout the league, here are 15 high profile players who have as much riding on their interviews with teams as they do the other more hyped components of the Combine.

Players are listed alphabetically.
  • Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
  • Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
  • Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
  • A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  • Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
  • Jake Locker, QB, Washington
  • Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
  • Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
  • Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
  • Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
  • Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
  • Tyron Smith, OT, USC
  • Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
  • Titus Young, WR, Boise State

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com