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Posted March 18, 2009

Eugene Monroe vs. Jason Smith

Going into January, I had Michael Oher No. 1 on my offensive tackle board, and Eugene Monroe No. 2 with Jason Smith No. 3.

After a somewhat disappointing Senior Bowl week for Oher, I moved Monroe up to my No. 1 tackle spot on my big board and No. 2 overall pick in my 2009 NFL Mock Draft to Saint Louis.

Since then, nothing has changed for me.

Meanwhile, much has for the consensus opinion.

Smith showed up to the Combine, put up 33 reps on the bench, and said he wanted to "physically assault" his opponents.

The consensus then changed that he was the No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2009 NFL Draft just because of a few reps and a quote.

Now, nearly 90 percent of mock drafts have Jason Smith being taken ahead of Monroe, but I think this is more of people not actually watching the tape and more going with what everyone else is saying and thinking.

Recently, arguably the best football analyst on the planet, Mike Mayock, released his updated big board. He moved up Monroe to his No. 2 overall player, and ahead of Smith, his previous No. 1 offensive tackle.

Watch for the consensus to move Monroe up as the top tackle in the 2009 NFL Draft, for the same reasons I have been stating for the best 2.5 months.

Michael Lombardi recently went on Path to the Draft on the NFL Network and said Monroe has the best footwork he has seen since Tony Boselli in the 1994 NFL Draft, which is quite a statement to say the least.

We need to break these prospects down to examine see where they differentiate.

Smith is thought to be more of a physical and stronger blocker than Monroe. I only have one game tape of Baylor, and I have not seen much of him. I really do not get how so many draftniks can form an opinion of a player on a team that is never on television, but I can only go by my one game tape against Texas. Smith is very athletic, but does struggle with technique at times from what I saw in the Texas game. He is occasionally overaggressive, and I think he does lack some awareness. He is never in the three-point stance and might struggle a little bit with the transition to the NFL.

Monroe is the prototypical left tackle with his elite footwork (which I have said since last December), instincts, technique and size. He is a more polished lineman than Smith, and I really do feel he is more NFL-ready. He is rarely on the ground and is a very patient lineman in pass protection. He sits in his stance and has explosive agility to adjust to the spin and react to an end.

There you have it, and I really think Monroe will be the first tackle off the board. With Lombardi's comments and Mayock's recent big board update, you will see more of Monroe to the Rams at No. 2 overall.

Remember, you have heard this from me for months, so it should be of absolute no shock to you, and that is why is the No. 1 NFL Draft site on your big board.

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