MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans flanked by Tyron Smith #70 and Ronald Johnson #83 runs off the field after the Trojans scored a touchdown during the first half of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 18 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
From General Manager BroncosNL: Over the years, Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has come to be known for sticking to his philosophy of picking for need over taking the best player on the board. Looking at the Atlanta Falcons' needs, I would like to think that he would like to add a player to the defensive front seven with his first round pick. However, with a player like Justin Houston, and some of the other top defensive ends, already off the board, the Falcons could look to other positions that need an upgrade such as the wide receiver and tackle positions. The Falcons drafted offensive tackle Sam Baker in 2008 (who, coincidentally, is also from USC, 6-5 and 307 pounds), but both he and right tackle Tyson Clabo struggled this past season, and reports indicated Baker almost lost his starting job to backup Wil Svitek. Tyron Smith is my one of my favorite tackles in this years draft, and I don't think he will make it to 27, so if he falls there, I would think the Falcons have to consider him very hard. With Clabo being a free agent, drafting Smith would allow the Falcons to try Baker at right tackle and use Smith at the left tackle position (or possibly start Svitek there as Smith develops at the start of the season).
Smith weighed in at the Combine at 307 pounds and with his 6-5 frame he has prototypical size for a left tackle. He also measures an incredible 36 3/8 inch arms and possesses great agility and good footwork. He is only 20, and will have to work on his technique (mainly his hands), but if Atlanta can work on this with him, and put up with some growing pains, they can eventually profit from his tremendous upside. I think he could add a few more pounds with the right off season conditioning and develop into a very good left tackle in the NFL who can protect Matt Ryan's blind side for the next decade.