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Can OT Eric Smith make better second impression on Giants?

Smith’s first impression wasn’t a good one

New York Giants v New York Jets
Eric Smith

Eric Smith did not leave a good impression when pressed into emergency duty at left tackle for the New York Giants a season ago. Pressed into service when Nate Solder suffered a concussion against the New York Jets Smith allowed three sacks in 53 snaps and generally looked lost.

Can Smith recover from that and earn the right to stick around with the Giants in 2020? Let’s take a closer look.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 308
Age: 25 in September
Position: Offensive tackle
Experience: 3
Contract: Year 2 of two-year, $1.05 million contract

How he got here

Needing a reserve swing tackle, the Giants claimed Smith off waivers from the New York Jets at the end of the preseason.

Smith originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 2017. He spent some time on the New England Patriots practice squad in 2018, and landed with the Jets late in that season.

Smith had never appeared in an NFL game until being pressed into service against the Jets.

Perhaps that showed that Smith isn’t up to the task of blocking NFL players. Perhaps, though, some of the blame for Smith’ ugly performance had to land at the feet of the Giants’ coaching staff. Smith admitted post-game that in the two-and-one-half-months he had been a Giant he had not taken a single practice snap at left tackle. Honestly, pretty hard to expect a player in his first NFL action to perform adequately at a position he was not prepared to play.

2020 outlook

Smith’s abysmal performance showed why the Giants needed a player like Cameron Fleming, a versatile, experienced swing tackle who has performed adequately throughout his career at a variety of positions despite not receiving a ton of practice reps.

It is hard to see how Smith is able to do more than make the practice squad when the season begins. Fleming is a Giant. Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart were drafted. Nick Gates showed that he can play right tackle if needed, maybe even left tackle in an emergency.

Without injury or illness, it is difficult see a place on the 53-man roster for Smith.