Plus, he isn’t a real natural plucker, seems to often fight the football into his body and overall lacks ideal body control when asked to quickly regain balance and adjust to the play. Overall, the skill set is there for this guy to make big vertical plays at the next level, but he still has a ways to go if he ever hopes to be more than just a gifted athlete trying to run away from defenders at the next level."
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."
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."
He'd be best advised, at this point, to stay in for another year and refine his game.
If he comes out, he looks like a Big Project, worthy only of a very late Rounder.
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