Don’t look now, but the two-man race between Charles Brown and Terron Armstead for the right to protect Drew Brees’ blindside at left tackle in 2013 may have a serious darkhorse in the bust known as Jason Smith.
Conventional wisdom said the oft-injured Brown and promising rookie Armstead were the only serious candidates for the job. Heck, most even forgot Smith was added to the roster recently.
Folks better start paying attention to Smith. According to NOLA.com’s Mike Triplett, Smith was practicing with the first team Tuesday and head coach Sean Payton is quoted as saying the competition is wide open:
Veteran Jason Smith took another turn with the first-string offense at left tackle on Tuesday. Although Charles Brown too every snap with the first string during minicamp last week, Payton said the competition is “absolutely” still wide open. Rookie Terron Armstead is also in the mix, although he has missed the past two weeks with an undisclosed injury.
How many times have we seen Brees’ quick release protect mediocre talent on the offensive line? Smith was the No. 2 overall pick in an NFL draft for a reason. He’s busted his way throughout the league so far, but sometimes it’s just a matter of finding the right situation before things come full circle.
Perhaps New Orleans is that situation for Smith.
Even if Smith fails to win the left tackle job, if he shows enough he could start at right tackle, another position that was not too hot for the Saints last year.
Regardless of how the situation plays out, the emergence of Smith as a threat is nothing but a good thing for the Saints. More serious competition means we’ll be seeing the most out of each player in the competition.
Smith is a darkhorse and it’s a major storyline that could develop in the coming weeks.