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While 2009 Draft Prospects Flop, Andre Smith Rises

What's more than interesting is the dynamics that's shifted in the past three years. Cincinnati selecting offensive tackle Andre Smith was met with concern, which was justified during a lengthy holdout, an injured foot, bad work ethic and just the overall lack of interest Smith appeared to give as a professional football player. Three years after being selected sixth overall during the 2009 NFL Draft, Smith has taken a serious approach to his professional career, lost considerable weight with a strengthening determination to prove someone like Andrew Whitworth that it's time to get serious. And that's around the same time that others within the 2009 Draft class are flopping (or have flopped).

What do Aaron Curry, Aaron Maybin and Tyson Jackson have in common? They were all drafted early during the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. Aaron Curry was recently traded by the team that selected him fourth overall to the Oakland Raiders for a seventh round pick in 2012 and a conditional mid-rounder in 2013.

Selected third overall, Tyson Jackson has posted one quarterback sack in 33 games with the Kansas City Chiefs. Aaron Maybin was selected 11th overall by the Buffalo Bills and failed to record a sack in 27 games with before being released after only two seasons. Ironically the Jets signed him and he posted a quarterback sack in his first game with New York; he's only played two games this year.

Now offensive lineman Jason Smith, selected second overall, is believed to be good trade bait for the St. Louis Rams, according to Yahoo Sports! Jason Cole, writing, "he’s a marginal right tackle who is suspect in passing situations." Cole continues: "Some people might argue that the Rams need to keep trying with Smith, but not at the expense of getting QB Sam Bradford(notes) hurt."

All of this while Andre Smith goes from a flop to a professional tackle that's finally beginning to take his art seriously. Marvin Lewis laid out the biggest praise for Lewis during a press conference that asked about Smith's upcoming battle against defensive end Robert Mathis:

"Over the first five weeks of the season, Andre has played more like he played in ’09 than he played a year ago. I attribute that to having been through training camp and going through the things that he’s been through. It’s been good for him. He really didn’t know what training camp and preparation for the season was all about. He’s a completely different guy. He’s what we expected, just like in drafting A.J. (Green). They can come in and have an immediate impact. Because of the injuries and the holdout and so forth, it’s taken longer than we expected, but we’re now reaping the benefits of that."