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Monday, April 13, 2009
Green Bay's decision on A. Smith now tougher


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Uh-oh.

It's usually a warning sign when a draft-eligible player changes agents in the middle of April, and, well, Alabama offensive lineman Andre Smith doesn't need any more red flags.

But that's exactly what has happened, writes Ian R. Rapoport of the Birmingham News. According to the report, Smith fired agent Alvin Keels over the weekend and is expected to hire Ian Greengross.

If you haven't noticed, I don't typically dig too deeply into agent news. Most of it is inside-baseball gossip that doesn't hugely impact what you see on the field. But in this case, Smith's handling of his representation is a reflection on the general disarray of his draft status over the past five months.

It's an issue on this blog because Green Bay, armed with the No. 9 overall pick, has a strong need at tackle and will face a difficult decision about whether to draft him. Or, perhaps this news will be the final hint that Smith brings too many sideshows to merit being a top-10 pick.

Smith was suspended for the Sugar Bowl because of illegal contact with an agent in December, according to ESPN.com's Chris Low and others. He didn't settle on Keels as his agent until the middle of February, and his subsequent decision to leave the annual scouting combine without working out was disastrous.

Was it Keels' fault that Smith left early, or that he showed up out of shape for his pro day? No. But for the issue to boil over so close to the draft indicates an unsettling sense of chaos. Greengross, if he is indeed Keels' replacement, has the difficult job of halting a freefall.

Let's hear from you, Packer types. Aside from the off-field drama, and the conditioning issues, Smith is considered the most talented offensive tackle in a deep draft. Do you want him at No. 9? Or is he too risky of a pick?