He’s a gifted athlete who does a great job staying compact on his kick-slide toward the edge, keeps his base down and has the range to reach any kind of speed toward the corner. He displays impressive lateral quickness as well when asked to redirect and does as good a job as any mirroring in space. Smith needs to continue to work on the coordination of his punch, is a bit inconsistent at times and will allow his arms to drop after his initial jolt and I would like to see him recoil at times quickly. However, he does have the ability to do so at times, it’s just being able to do it at a more consistent rate.
Smith is very impressive on the move, quickly getting out to the second level, breaking down on contact and sealing in the run game. He also possesses some natural pop to his game when asked to run block as an in-line guy. He still needs to do a better job keeping his pad level down more consistently off the snap, but he does well to drop his pad level into contact, pumps his legs and gets his hands under defenders. His hand placement and arm extension is a bit suspect at times, but he definitely has the athleticism to stick to defenders through the play and seal.
Two other concerns to his game at this stage are…
1. His overall size, listed at 6-5, 285 pounds.
2. The majority of his playing time at USC has been at right tackle.
My take on the two concerns:
He’s going to gain weight. Smith has already put on about 25 pounds over the past three years and as he continues to mature the weight will naturally go up and he will continue to get stronger as well.
As for his position. I know the left tackle spot has more value, but personally I would let him play wherever he feels most comfortable. He does have some experience at left tackle, serving as a reserve there as a freshman. So the guy does have experience kick sliding from both sides and is a highly gifted athlete. Therefore in all likelihood he should easily be able to make the move to the blindside, it’s just something that needs to be looked into.
Either way after breaking down a couple of his games so far this year, he looks far and away like the most talented offensive tackle in the class if he were to come out."
Movement: Is a top athlete for an offensive tackle. Moves around with ease and doesn't get ahead of his feet. Used in the second level blocking on screens. Gets to the second level fine but doesn't locate defenders especially well. Will often whiff. Still, Smith has shown hustle and usually finds another way to help block down field.
Pass blocking: Gets a good base in pass protection. Has long arms but has an inconsistent extension. Has a very good kick slide to the right. Smith doesn't get too wide but he maintains his area because he has quick feet. As Smith gets stronger, he'll more easily handle power rushers. Against speed rushers, Smith does really well when he can continue riding them to the outside.
Quickness: Very good quickness off the snap. Plays out of a two-point stance. That combined with his quickness helps Smith get in position faster than defenders. Uses his foot speed to mirror defenders.
Run blocking: As a junior, has played in a zone blocking scheme at USC. Because of that, he's not had to drive block much. But judging by his frame, Smith should get stronger in his lower body to anchor. Even though he comes out of his stance high, Smith typically keeps his pads low. Doesn't have the best initial hand punch. Can be inconsistent where he drives into a defender.
Strength: This is where Smith needs to get better. He's bulked up 20 pounds since entering college but needs to continue adding strength throughout his frame. When he's asked to drive block in the run game, he'll struggle moving defensive linemen around. Still, Smith gives very good effort and it takes a lot for a defender to beat him purely with a bull rush.
Technique: The biggest technical flaw on Smith is his hand placement. Smith's hand speed is fine but he doesn't always get proper placement. Where he needs to improve is extending his arms. Too often Smith lets defenders get into his frame and push him around. Footwork is technically correct and rarely makes a misstep.
Final word: Smith is starting to gain a lot of attention as an offensive tackle prospect. He's an easy player to fall in love with. He has a long, lean frame and is athletic. Smith gets out on the move as well as any offensive tackle you'll see and is loaded with potential.
However, Smith is only in his second year as a starter. He's only been a reserve as a left tackle and spent more time on the right side. He's up to about 280 pounds and came out of high school at 265. His power and weight gain has been impressive, but he'll need to add at least 10 more pounds.
As he is right now, Smith would likely find himself in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He'd likely have to start his career backing up unless a zone blocking team picked him. But if he wants to maximize his draft stock, Smith would be wise to return for his senior season. That way he can continue to get stronger, maybe move to the left side and probably get picked in the top ten in 2012."
In 2010 Smith has continued to build upon his success and has done a fine job protecting quarterback Matt Barkley and paving the way for a solid running game. Once again Smith should receive plenty of accolades by the end of the season.
What makes Smith special is his athleticism. At 6-5 and 280 pounds, he is surprisingly quick and nimble. Yet, he does not lack in strength. He may sound a little small at 280 pounds, but Smith is an athlete who has all the strength he needs. Smith just seems like he should be a left tackle and he probably will be in the NFL. Scouts will fall in love with his athletic ability and he will blow away most other linemen at the NFL combine. That could make him a first round selection if he opts to go pro early."
He'd best for a Zone Blocking team, but should develop into an All Pro in any scheme, and at either Tackle spot.
As always, the preceding thoughts were regurgitated, derivative tripe, adding no value whatsoever, while in fact obliterating intelligent thought and offending the spirit of all decent men. You are now stupider for having read it, and are encouraged, in the strongest possible language, never to expose your eyes to this Site again.