Smith is a topic of some debate amongst Bengals fans. Some believe that he shouldn't be completely written off yet and that his potential and skill alone should make him an important part of the offensive line and he's just been a victim of unfortunate circumstances. Others believe, however, that Smith is fat and lazy and was a terrible draft pick from day one. That group of people, who are considerably larger than the pro-Smith group, cite the fact that he held out on signing his rookie contract, his weight coming into camp and his poor work ethic.
Really, both sides of the argument are right on some points. Smith is extremely talented and has a lot of potential. If he wanted to, he could be a very productive member of the Bengals offensive line. However, he is (or was) overweight and seemed to lack the discipline and self-motivation to get himself into shape to be as good as he can be.
Much like the two sides of the argument about Andre Smith, there are two sides of how Smith could be affected by the current NFL lockout. He could be one of the few players to benefit from the lockout as well as one of the many players to suffer from it. Here's how.
How Smith could benefit from the lockout:
We mentioned a while back that Andrew Whitworth was organizing offensive linemen workouts. Well, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, Andre Smith did not participate in those workouts because he's still rehabbing his foot injury. That sounds like bad news, I know, but, think of this way: if the lockout extends into the season, and we know it could from Cris Collinsworth's thoughts on the subject, Smith could get some extra time to really get his foot back to 100 percent.
If Smith comes into the 2011 season, whenever the 2011 season starts, and he's really healthy for the first time, we could see a whole new player. He could take the 2011 season, build from it and eventually be worth the No. 6 overall pick used on him.
How Smith could suffer from the lockout:
We mentioned a while back that Andrew Whitworth was organizing offensive linemen workouts. Well, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, Andre Smith did not participate in those workouts because he's still rehabbing his foot injury. That sounds... wait. Isn't this the same as ab... yep, I already wrote this.
Really, this is bad news for Smith as well as it is good news.
Smith has never struck me as a real go-getter and seems to really be lacking when it comes to his ability to be self-motivated. He had surgery in the offseason after his rookie year in February and still wasn't ready to go once the Bengals took the field in Georgetown, Ky. for minicamp. That pretty much landed him in Marvin Lewis' dog house as well as the dog houses of almost all Bengals fans.
Smith hasn't really seemed to be the kind of guy that would take the initiative to workout and get in great shape on his own without a coach standing behind him, making him do it. Because he can't make contact with his coaches during the lockout, he really doesn't have to do anything besides sit in front of a TV and eat cookies.
So really, if Smith uses his time during the lockout to not only heal but make sure that he still stays in good shape and comes into the 2011 season with a non-broken foot and a non-completely-fat body, the lockout giving him some extra time could be a good thing. However, if he doesn't use his time off to make sure he's healed and in shape, it will just prove that he's not pro material.