Former Los Angeles Rams top draft bust now fast-rising football coach

Los Angeles Rams, Jason Smith
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl by trading first-round picks for impact talent and finding hidden gems in the mid-late rounds. As the Rams’ process leads them to success, one of their former draft busts has found a way to remain involved in the game.

The 2009 NFL Draft class was headlined by current Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was selected with the first overall pick. While the 2009 draft class hasn’t been particularly strong more than a decade later, it’s accounted for plenty of All-Pro selections and perennial Pro Bowl nominees.

Related: Biggest NFL Draft busts of all time

Offensive lineman Jason Smith was not one of the success stories from the 2009 NFL Draft. Coming out of Baylor as a first-team All-American, the 6-foot-5 offensive tackle was taken by the Rams with the second overall pick.

At the time, it was viewed as a solid pick with many NFL analysts confident that Smith could develop into an All-Pro left tackle. Instead, the 2008 All-Big 12 selection became one of the biggest draft busts in the Rams’ history. Now a decade removed from playing his last snap in an NFL game, Smith has found a fantastic way to remain involved in football.

Smith, 37, is making an even bigger impact on football now in Texas than he did during his playing days. The Baylor alum is now working at the college level as an assistant coach and he’s already moving up the coaching ladder very quickly.

In 2022, the North Texas Mean Green hired Smith as a coaching intern. After learning under Seth Littrell and interim coach Phil Bennett last year, he was retained by first-year head coach Eric Morris ahead of the 2023 season. Smith even earned a promotion, becoming an offensive analyst for North Texas.

Related: Los Angeles Rams mock draft 2024

Now, as first reported by Matt Zenitz of 247 Sports, Smith has landed a coaching job at Abilene Christian. He’ll be staying in Texas, joining Keith Patterson’s coaching staff as the Wildcats’ tight ends coach.

While it might seem unusual for a 6-foot-5 former offensive lineman to become a tight ends coach, Smith played tight end in his senior season at W.T. White High School in Dallas, Texas. He’ll now be helping the next generation of football players and based on his ascension, this likely won’t be his last coaching job.