Doesn't waste much motion off the line and has the type of coordination to keep himself clean off the snap. Lacks a great initial burst off the ball, doesn't run real well and seems to lumber a bit down the field. However, possesses some fluidity as a route runner and does a nice job cleanly getting out of his sharply breaking routes, snapping his head around and locating the football.
However, isn't a real gifted athlete and doesn't generate a ton of separation for himself in any area of the game. At times will rush his route in order to try to gain separation, but isn't the kind of athlete who can create much separation vs. man. Possesses good overall ball skills, adjusts well to the throw and can make plays using his frame.
Displays good power at the point of attack in the run game. Displays good hand placement into contact, has a strong upper body and is tough to disengage from. Locks in well on contact and works his legs well in order to stay on blocks. However, doesn't keep his pad level down well off the line. Consistently gets upright off the football, doesn't generate much leverage and isn't a guy who can routinely drive defenders off the ball as an in-line guy. Also, needs to do a better job getting off the snap count on time.
Impression: Possesses good size, bend and power in the upper body to stick to blocks. Needs to improve pad level in the run game, but can make a roster as a solid reserve blocking tight end."
Smith could be an excellent fit with a team like the Titans that uses a lot of two-tight end formations and depends on superior blocking from the position.
Positives: Three-year starter is an impressive physical specimen and an imposing blocker. Has an ideal frame with long arms. Can bend knees, sink hips and generate power as a blocker. Can drive, seal and pull, even pass protect off the edge. Long strider has loose hips and is agile downfield. Catches the ball with hands away from frame. Is a difficult physical match-up for defenses. Healthy, durable, and contributes on special teams.
Negatives: Not especially fast and may have trouble getting a lot of separation against speedy NFL linebackers. Not used a lot in the passing game as a receiver. Sometimes resorts to poor technique as a blocker, getting too high and waist bending. Doesn't always sustain blocks well, allowing defenders to slip off initial contact too often. Ends up on the ground a lot, dives too much."
Positive: Big tight end who has flashed speed and athleticism throughout his college career. Effective position blocker who stays square, shows strength at the point of attack, and seals the edge. Turns defenders off the ball and opens running lanes for ball carriers. Solid receiver who can make tough catches over the middle. Consistently finds the open space on the field and displays good eye/hand coordination.
Negative: Does not block with a nasty attitude. Not a true downfield threat.
Analysis: Smith is a physically gifted tight end who has teased scouts the past three years. He has the size of an offensive lineman but the movement skills of a tight end. Smith possesses the ability to be a third tight end at the next level if he puts the pieces together and takes his game to another level."
Strengths: Player on the rise. A very tough, durable guy who is a huge special teams help. Has become a very good ST tackler. Improved blocker who is settling in to a solid pro technique as a blocker. Nice set up and recoil as a pass protector. Pretty good speed to get down the seam and stretch the safeties. Decent routes. Decent hands. Excellent lateral agility and overall movement skills. Gets off the line quickly and into his breaks smoothly and with alacrity for such a big man.
Weaknesses: Still a bit of a gentle pusher and prefers to wall-off rather than to bury people on the edge as a blocker. No killer. Seals better to the inside when line up on the right side of the LOS than on the left. Misses when cut blocking. Only decent hand usage. Not thrown too much, and hands are still a question mark entering the draft. Has not been in a passing offense.
Projection: 6-7th rounder who is a huge sleeper at tight end in my opinion, but could still go undrafted. ST resume/ability guarantees him a roster spot if he goes to a team that lacks talent at TE."
However, Smith is not a bad pass catcher either. At 6-5 and 272 pounds, he is a large target in the red zone. It really was not until his senior season in 2010 when Taylor started to consistently look in the direction of his big tight end in the end zone. Smith ended up catching five touchdown passes in 2010. In the previous three seasons he only caught two.
Smith's development as a pass catcher is nice, but it is his blocking ability that will get Smith drafted in the middle rounds come April. Even for a team that has a solid pass catching tight end, Smith is worthy of a fourth round selection as a secondary tight end who can block better than most tight ends in the NFL."
As a Blocker, Andre Smith is a solid Croucher, and has both enough Power to Drive in the Run Game and Strength to Anchor against the Pass Rush. His Mechanics need work, though. And his Launch Speed is bad.
As a Receiver, he's surprisingly instinctive and nearly gracefull, though hardly excessively so.
All in all, Andre Smith needs some work, but as a classic Tight End ~ a guy who Blocks vociferously and makes the occasional catch ~ he should make an excellent Reserve, initially, and, before long, compete for playing time.
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