We signed NT Shaun Smith today.
I think it's a great acquisition to our number 1 position of need. It sounds as if the intelligent, well-researched ultra-fans on AP see him as a reserve/rotation player more than a starter. Thinking back on the play of Ron Edwards this season I think he at least has the possibility of starting.
Regardless of whether or not he plays the first snap, Shaun Smith is old enough that we need to draft the NT of the future in the 2010 NFL Draft.
After the jump we'll examine the personnel options for the lynch-pin of our 3-4 defense.
The nice thing about picking up Shaun Smith is that it frees up Pioli to draft based on VALUE as opposed to having to reach to fill huge need (Tyson Jackson). The NT Pioli drafts is now allowed to be the guy with the biggest upside, not the guy who will be the best starter from day 1.
I used to have a major man-crush on Terrence Cody at 2a. Because I thought he could slim down and start from day 1. But with the addition of SS, Pioli can look at his weight/strength/work ethic issues and decide to take a receiver or ILB instead.
So knowing that Pioli needs to invest a draft pick in 2010 on the NT of the future, who do you think best fits that bill?
I don't follow enough college football to have formed an opinion on any of these guys beyond Dan Williams and Terrence Cody. Who of these prospects strikes AP as being the future anchor of our D-Line?
Dan Williams, 6'2" 327, Tennessee
Terrence Cody, 6'4" 354, Alabama
Torrell Troup, 6'3" 314, Central Florida
Cam Thomas, 6'4" 330, North Carolina
Linval Joseph, 6'6" 322, East Carolina
Martin Tevaseu, 6'6" 329, UNLV
Al Woods, 6'4" 309, LSU
None of these players merit the use of a Top 5 pick. But what value do you assign to a future NT? Should we we spending one of the second rounders or gamble a 5th round pick knowing there will be time to coach and condition a player like Thomas or Troup?
I'd love to know AP's opinion on how our NT needs have changed since signing Shaun Smith.