Alabama head coach Nick Saban went to bat for Andre Smith all through the draft process and Saturday he took a few pitches from the Cincinnati media in a conference call. Saban and offensive line coach Joe Pendry, both long-time NFL coaches, spent a good amount of time talking the pick through with Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and offensive line coach Paul Alexander.
"I think Marvin has always done an outstanding job in terms of making good judgments about football coaching and football players in my opinion, and I think he made a really good one today," Saban said.
"We never had an issue with the guy. He's a very good person," Saban said. "He wants to please a coach. He wants to please everyone around him. He is a hard worker. He never had any issues as a college player other than the management of the agent situation (that got him suspended from the Sugar Bowl). Which I think is more maturity and not using good judgment. He's got power. He's really got good feet and athleticism."
Saban thinks he can play either left or right tackle and compares him to a powerful run blocker he had with the Dolphins in right tackle Vernon Carey, but says he's got better pass-protection skills.
"I certainly feel like people will see that because he can do a really good job of mirroring and he's strong enough to anchor and he's a rare combination of a guy that can do all three," he said.