Positives: First and foremost you notice his frame which is great. He’s tall and has a lot of room to add additional weight. The second thing you notice is how well he moves for someone that is listed at 280 pounds. He has a good first step, he can mirror just about anyone’s speed rush due to his athleticism and he gets to the second level effortlessly. He should have no problem mirroring even elite speed rushers in the NFL because of his effective kick slide and impressive lateral agility. His value will be highest as a pass blocker though he shows the ability to seal in the run game and also drive block smaller defenders. One thing to love about Smith is his upside, because with his athleticism he could be an elite LT in the NFL if he gets coached up and polished.
Negatives: Smith is a pretty raw prospect. He probably hasn’t been playing at his listed weight of 280 and he really needs to get stronger, especially in the lower body. He will struggle to anchor against bull rushes at times even against smaller defensive ends. Getting stronger in the lower body will help him in the running game as well. His technique needs development also. His footwork seems to be fine in his kick slide, etc. though he doesn’t always keep his feet driving as a run blocker. His initial punch in the run game and as a pass blocker is relatively ineffective and rarely, if ever, shocks the defender he is blocking. He will also struggle to sustain blocks because his technique is pretty raw and at times will just be getting in the way as a run blocker rather than blocking his defender and driving them out of the play.
Overall: Smith is a really intriguing prospect, but I can’t say I am super high on him. He has tons of ability, but you have to wonder why he didn’t end up the starter at LT given his incredible athletic ability that is perfectly suited for the LT position. He was suspended for the bowl game last season because of academic issues and my gut is telling me that he is a guy who has been coasting on his insane athleticism for a long time, so I wonder how good his work ethic is. If his work ethic is good and he goes to a team with a quality offensive line coach he could get a lot better during his first couple of seasons in the league and potentially develop into an elite left tackle in the NFL. But if his work ethic isn’t what it should be then he probably won’t put on as much weight as he should, he probably won’t work to polish his footwork, improve his initial punch and develop his technique and hand placement. If that is the case then he will never live up to his insane potential given his amazing athleticism. And when I say amazing I mean amazing. I have watched him mirror a blitzing corner coming off the edge more than once, which is really a sight to behold. Especially from a right tackle which is what he played at USC.
Projection: Top 15- Smith is all-potential and he won’t contribute much, if anything, as a rookie, so his value will be limited from that standpoint but he has such a great frame, long arms and amazing athleticism for the position. He should be the first LT off the board for this reason, potentially even in the top ten. The best way to describe Smith in my opinion is a guy with top 10 athleticism and 3rd/4th round technique. If his technique ever catches up with athleticism you will have an elite player on your hands, but you never know if that will happen.
SKILLS 1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
PASS BLOCKING: 3.5
RUN BLOCKING: 3.0
MEAN STREAK: 3.0