Is a raw receiver who lacks ideal footwork/balance as a route runner at this stage. Has a tendency to chop his feet in order to gather himself and wastes a good bit of motion on the comeback. Consistently gears down before trying to change directions on sharply breaking routes and even then seems to drift and really round off his breaks. Is a much better vertical route runner with some natural short-area quickness and balance, accelerating instantly out of his breaks.
Also, seems to have a bit of savvy to his game, doing a better job changing gears and setting up his routes down the field. However, consistently lets the ball get into his body. Isn't a real natural plucker, doesn't drop a ton of passes, but will put the football on the ground and needs to become a more comfortable pass catcher. But, showcases a slight wiggle getting up the field after the catch. Looks a bit tight in the hips, but has some jump cut ability with the ball in his hands and can create in chunks after the catch.
Looks like he's going to have a tough time beating press coverage at the next level. Isn't asked to beat it much at the college level because all corners fear his deep speed. However, he isn't real shifty or fluid and doesn't have the type of strength to consistently overpower and fight his way though contact. Could keep him from ever maturing into a big-time deep threat.
Impression: An explosive deep threat who tracks the football well and has the speed to open up the field vertically. However, isn't a real natural catcher, looks a bit stiff and is raw as a route runner and is going to need to learn to beat press. Looks more of a vertical route runner. There is a spot for him in the league and he can be productive but looks limited in what he can offer."
Hands: Reliable pass-catcher, though he needs to be more consistent with catching with his hands. Shows the ability to extend and pluck the ball out of the air. Long arms and good body control to contort in space to make the difficult reception of a poorly thrown ball. Can absorb the big hit and hang on. Good vision and balance to track the ball over his shoulder.
Route Running: Remains a work in progress in this area, though he showed significant improvement as a junior. Generally asked to run only vertical, comeback drags across the middle and quick screens in this offense. Has been able to gain separation largely due to his speed, though he shows good footwork and balance to develop in this area.
After The Catch: His best attribute due to his agility, straight-line speed and vision. Gliding runner who accelerates quickly and changes directions without sacrificing speed. Can make defenders miss in the open field, but doesn't possess elite lateral agility to juke in tight quarters. Good straight-line speed to separate. A threat to score from any point on the field.
Blocking: Willing to help his teammates downfield, but this is an area that could use some development. Has the agility and competitiveness to mirror, but possesses only average strength and physicality.
Intangibles: An ascending talent who may be only scratching the surface of his potential. His 2,983 yards as a kick returner set the ACC record. Endured a tough childhood in which he was often asked to help his raise his younger brothers and sisters while his single mother worked two jobs. Described by head coach Ralph Friedgen as "God created a perfect person" due to Smith's humility and dedication, as well as his athletic talents. Graduated in December with a degree in criminology and criminal justice - the first male in his family to earn a college diploma. Made the special teams captain by Friedgen."
Agility: Displays excellent agility after the catch and in the return game. Changes direction with ease and isn’t solely a straight forward track star playing football.
Body control: Shows good body control to turn his head and catch the ball over his shoulder. Has had to learn how to adjust to several poorly thrown passes that come in low or high. Has good vision to catch the ball in tight spots, but doesn’t always extend his hands.
Blocking: Only average as a blocking receiver. Dips his head on contact. Is more of a mirror only blocker.
Hands: Catches a lot of passes with his arms and body. Needs to do a better job of reaching his hands out and grabbing the ball away from his frame. Doesn’t appear to have concentration issues, but isn’t predominantly a receiver who goes over the middle. Shows good ball control, holding the football high and tight against his body.
Release: Has quick feet to get off the line. Will be high out off the snap allowing defenders to jam. Needs to get stronger in his upper body to shed defenders easier.
Route running: Runs mostly verticals, mid-range comebacks and short-area passes that utilize his speed. Because of his speed, Smith can simply run past defensive backs on vertical routes. Shows good short area quickness to get open on comebacks at the sideline.
Size: Smith has a lean track body with thick legs and a somewhat small torso. Arms don’t appear extraordinarily long and hands don’t look overly big. Has room to grow some.
Speed: Speed is Smith’s best asset by far. Has reportedly ran in the 4.3 range in the 40-yard dash. Gets up to top speed in an instant and will be one of the fastest receivers in the draft over six feet tall. Has the classic “second gear” that allows him to pull away from defenders in the open field.
Final word: Smith has been one of the top risers in 2010. Everyone has always known he’s a great return man. But now he’s developing into a good wide receiver. He’ll finish his career as Maryland’s career leader in all-purpose yards.
As much as Smith has developed, he has plenty of work to do to be more than the next Darrius Heyward-Bey. Namely, Smith will have to start catching the ball more away from his frame. It seems like Smith makes a lot of catches with his arms and not his fingertips. While he’s done a better job on his routes in 2010, he doesn’t run an especially complex route tree.
Smith may never be a true No. 1 receiver on an NFL team. What he will be as a good No. 2 and a standout special teams performer."
Smith may be the fastest receiver in the draft.
Smith wasn’t very highly recruited out of high school, despite all of the plays he made. He was a three star recruit, and only saw scholarship offers from a handful of schools. He ultimately signed on with Maryland, only to redshirt his freshman season and follow it up with making a big impact as a redshirt freshman in 2008. He started the last six games in 2008, and continued throughout the 2010 season.
Smith’s speed is second to none in the 2011 NFL Draft. He very well may be the fastest receiver to most likely be selected in the first three rounds. He’s not only fast, but quick and agile, doing a nice job getting behind the secondary to make plays down field. He can make big plays after the catch, as he’s nearly impossible to tackle one on one in the open field. He has excellent body control, and despite not having a big frame, he fights for the ball with even the biggest of corners and safeties. He has a great ability to locate the football and comes back for the ball when needed (which was a lot with Maryland QB’s). He catches the ball at its highest point, and does a nice job of protecting it as a ball carrier. He does a very nice job of getting separation. Smith is also an exceptional kick returner.
While Smith seems to have soft hands, he doesn’t have strong hands, as sometimes he’ll get the ball knocked out when making the catch in traffic. He doesn’t run the most fluid routes, although he does cut in and out of his breaks fairly well. He tends to improvise his routes somewhat finding the open space regardless whether it takes him off course. He lacks the strength to get off of press coverage, although corners will generally have to play off of him to respect his speed deep. He didn’t run a large variety of routes, as he mostly utilized his speed on vertical routes.
Smith could sneak into the bottom of the first round to a team like Baltimore, but the early to mid second round is the ideal time to select him. His ability to make plays after the catch will be coveted by many teams running a West Coast Offense, but he can stretch the field and is a fit for any pass first offense. Look for teams like Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, and Minnesota to target him in the second round. I think his floor is at pick 47 with the St. Louis Rams, who will be desperate to give Sam Bradford a great weapon in the passing game.
NFL Comparison: Steve Johnson"
Positive: Explosive game-breaking receiver who consistently stretches the field. Quickly gets to top speed and has as second gear with the ability to burst away from defenders. Effectively uses the sidelines, makes catches in stride, and displays skill running after the reception. Plays with good quickness. Easily adjusts to the errant throw and makes the difficult reception. Sells routes and uses his body to shield away opponents and protect the pass. Consistently extends to make the reception away from his frame. Gives effort blocking downfield.
Negative: Lacks a quick release off the line into routes. Tends to round off breaks. Prone to dropping the easy pass on occasion.
Analysis: Smith has shown consistent development in his game the past three years and is one of the true home run hitting threats at the receiver position in April's draft. He has the underlying skills to be a productive NFL receiver but must show he can do more than run fast in a straight line."
Negatives: Lets too many passes get into his body, has to learn to catch with his hands... Drops some catchable balls.. Gathers himself a bit before going into open-field cuts... rounds off some of his routes... Runs most of his routes along the sideline, hasn't shown a willingness to work the middle of the field... Just an average run blocker... Maryland is known for players with tremendous triangle numbers who don't translate well to the NFL (see: Darrius Heyward-Bey)... A bit of a project."
Weaknesses: Not physically imposing. Glider, who does not have world class speed. A bit entitled. Not much of a blocker. Will need to get stronger. Could have used another year of refinement in the ACC.
Projection: 2-3rd rounder."
By 2009, the Colonial Beach, Virginia native was usually a starter and a much bigger part of the offense. He easily led the team with 61 receptions for 824 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown and returned two kickoffs for scores. Smith had high expectations heading into 2010 and he did not disappoint. Smith's return game suffered a little bit during his junior campaign, but he emerged as a superb receiver, catching 67 passes for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Smith has cemented his position as a second round selection. With a couple receivers going back to school who could have been first or second round picks, Smith will look like an even more attractive option in the middle of the second round. He does not have the size of a top NFL receiver, but he is a superb athlete who has blazing speed and can run a sub 4.3 40."
Torrey Smith has the Size + Speed to be an Alpha Wide Out ~ a Split End. But his Fluidity + Lateral Agility are poor, and his Navigational skills are awful. He doesn't get off the Line well, either, which pretty much obviates him as a Split End, at least for now, and his hands are lousy.
In short, I think we have a projected borderline 1st Rounder who is only going to be a Vertical Threat ~ a Flanker ~ and a special teams guy...and might be a bit sketchy at that, as well.
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