Mike Smith spoke to the media at the 2014 Scouting Combine today, sharing wide-ranging thoughts on the draft, the team's current roster and the disappointing 2013 ground game, among other topics. I wasn't there to ask my usual brand of hard-hitting questions, unfortunately, but I was able to round up highlights from the presser via Twitter.
Here's some of the most interesting comments Smith made today, with my notes below.
At the podium, lookin' Smitty.
Smith said Gabe Carimi can play both guard and tackle. Hopes he can play level of a first-round pick.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 20, 2014
Carimi's position is far from settled, then. The Falcons will try him out at RG and RT and see if he sticks at either spot as depth or, in an improbable scenario, as a starter.
Mike Smith says running the football is an area the team needs to improve. Didn't have a chance to see what Steven Jackson was capable of.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) February 20, 2014
If you thought Steven Jackson was gone, nope. The team clearly believes most of the problems originated from the line, and they're right to think that.
Smith says Levine Toilolo gives Atlanta flexibility. He thinks Toilolo gives them mismatches despite not having great speed.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) February 20, 2014
Levine Toilolo will get every chance to win a starting job. Sounds like the Falcons hope to use him creatively.
#Falcons coach Mike Smith said the draft is deep at the offensive tackle position.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) February 20, 2014
Worth noting that Smith also addressed Zack Martin specifically, once again. Lot of people are making that connection early.
Smith said he's spent the last 10 days almost exclusively looking at free agency.— Daniel Cox (@FalconsDCox) February 20, 2014
Doesn't tell you much except that the Falcons hope to be active.
Smith said Trufant is an outstanding competitor and getting year 1 experience will pay dividends going forward.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) February 20, 2014
We all know how good Trufant was in his rookie season, and the Falcons are incredibly high on his potential. It's likely we haven't seen his best.
Smith said Osi Umenyiora did a good job, was a good mentor. ``I'm never going to say never,'' about Umenyiora's status. Smith hopes to work— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 20, 2014
with Umenyiora moving forward.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 20, 2014
From what I'm gathering from Smith's statement on Umenyiora, it depends on how many pass rushers are added in free agency/draft— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 20, 2014
I don't see Osi getting the axe, but if as McClure says they take steps to add multiple pieces at defensive end, it's certainly possible he's gone.
Smith classifies Dee Ford and Greg Robinson as "very good players," talking about Ford being hard to block at the SR Bowl.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) February 20, 2014
Worth keeping an eye on both of these players. Ford in particular could be an option if the Falcons don't go Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack in the first round.
Smith said Julio was on pace for a "monster" year last season. He saw Julio training on Monday and their goal is for him to be ready in Sept— Daniel Cox (@FalconsDCox) February 20, 2014
Mike Smith said every coach he talked to felt like they had their best draft after coaching the Senior Bowl. He's already ahead of the game.— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) February 20, 2014
Man, let's hope so.
Thoughts regarding these comments? Nothing too illuminating, but it's worth noting that Osi could be in limbo depending on who the Falcons sign and draft, S-Jax is safe and the Falcons are feeling like they can crush the 2014 NFL Draft Look for Thomas Dimitroff's comments tomorrow starting at 11 a.m.