Ted Thompson came to see for himself.
Thompson was the Packers' representative at Alabama's pro day on Wednesday in Tuscaloosa, and the one guy everyone came to see was offensive tackle Andre Smith.
Smith, of course, was the highly touted player who left the Scouting Combine last month without telling anyone. Not only that, but he showed up out of shape and acted immaturely around some of the teams. Leaving early only exacerbated the maturity questions that started when he was ruled ineligible for the Sugar Bowl because of illegal contact with an agent.
On Wednesday, Smith checked in at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds. So, that was a major positive, considering there were reports he was a beefy 370 in Indianapolis. His 19 reps on the 225-pound bench press, however, are troubling. From what we hear, if teams were willing to look past what happened at the Combine, Smith performed well enough on Wednesday in testing and position drills. But for teams that had a sour taste about Smith, nothing he did at his workout changed their minds.
"It's as light as I've been in a long time — about three years ago," Smith told the Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register about his weight. "But this is the chance of a lifetime. Not many people get the opportunity to get drafted in the NFL.
"I think I did an outstanding job."
Smith's fate in next month's draft will be a major storyline. Before the Combine, Smith was seen as a top-five prospect who could even go No. 1 to Detroit. Now, it's anyone's guess on where Smith will wind up, making him a wild card in NFL war rooms and mock drafts. He still could go early, because it takes only one team to love a player. Several teams, however, said they wouldn't touch Smith in the first round.
From the perspective of the Packers, who hold the ninth selection of the first round and need talent at both tackle positions, Smith's antics at the Combine suggest he doesn't fit the mold of "Packer People" preferred by Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy. Then again, if Thompson thinks Smith could be a starting tackle for the next dozen seasons, he would have to think long and hard about grabbing him should he fall to No. 9.
The Crimson Tide, who challenged for the national championship all season, had a few other players on display who could interest the Packers. That list starts with Antoine Caldwell, who is one of several mid-round centers on the team's radar. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Caldwell, Scout.com's fifth-ranked center, is an aggressive run blocker who was an All-American as a senior.
Rashad Johnson, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound former walk-on, is an on-the-rise prospect at safety who likely will follow Davis as the Tide's second prospect off the board. He's Scout.com's fourth-ranked safety after posting a team-high five interceptions and finishing second on the Tide in tackles. He's added about 15 pounds since the Sugar Bowl to become a more physical presence. Even with the signing of Anthony Smith, safety could be a possibility for the Packers, with Atari Bigby and Nick Collins headed for unrestricted free agency after 2009.
Running back Glen Coffee, who rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns and tied for third on the team with 16 catches last year as a junior, is Scout.com's 16th-ranked running back. Coffee, like Caldwell and Johnson, took part in position drills on Wednesday but did not test after putting up good numbers at the Combine. His pass-catching abilities make him an intriguing prospect for Green Bay.
Fullback Travis McCall neither carried the ball nor had a reception last season as a blocking tight end, but at 6-foot-2 and 276 pounds, he's an intriguing prospect as a lead blocker. He's Scout's third-ranked fullback.
John Parker Wilson, Scout.com's 12th-ranked quarterback, showed good arm strength and touch on his passes, which could get him drafted. He completed 58 percent of his passes for 2,273 yards, with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a senior.
Guard Marlon Lewis, a late-round or undrafted prospect, measured 6-foot-2, 299 and did 24 reps on the bench press. Lewis was not invited to the Combine or the Senior Bowl despite 27 career starts.
Tight end Nick Walker, the Tide's second-leading receiver with 32 catches and a three-year starter, didn't help his hopes of being drafted by running his 40-yard dash in the high 4.9s.
One name to remember as an undrafted project is Bobby Greenwood. At 6-foot-5, he's got ideal height to be a 3-4 defensive end. He needs to bulk up considerably from his current weight of 278 pounds, though. He had five sacks in 14 starts last season.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Twitter a try. Find him at twitter.com/packerreport