The Rams have been very disappointed by both the play and the lack of health for 2009 second overall draft choice Jason Smith during his first three seasons in the league. While reports earlier in the offseason said that the team was leaning toward cutting its losses with that massive investment, it seems that the new regime may have different plans moving forward.
Smith is set to make $10 million in 2012 and that number will definitely need to be cut significantly if the offensive tackle wants another shot in St. Louis. The team’s new General Manager Les Snead believes that Smith deserves a chance under the new offensive line coach Paul Boudreau to see if he can take that next step as a player.
Play has been the least of Smith’s concerns during his time in the league thus far however as injuries have played a significant role in diminishing his ability to perform. With just 26 starts out of a possible 48 in his first three years with the Rams, Smith has the third least starts among those taken with the second overall pick since 1990. That daunting number will need to turn around if he wants to live up his status as a top flight offensive tackle.
Bad luck has been his tallest hurdle to overcome as last year’s campaign was cut short on a freak play where Smith was injured attempting to make a tackle following a turnover against the Dallas Cowboys. If he can avoid misfortune and just stay on the field, the Rams can truly evaluate their need at tackle.
The team sees no need to give up on Smith prematurely and create more needs for themselves than a 2-14 team already has. All of this talk points to the team likely looking at other positions with the number two pick or serious shopping the choice to the highest bidder.