Pros: Shows good potential as a press corner. Uses size well and has athleticism. Does a nice job keeping things in front of him. Has decent hips.
Cons: Lacks ideal burst and speed and struggles defending the deep ball because of it. Lacks instincts and can't get his head turned around quickly enough to play the ball in the air. Lacks pop as a tackler and not as good there as you'd expect a player his size. Tackles too high and doesn't always wrap. Gives up too much cushion to receivers.
Overview: Smith has the size/speed ratio you like in a corner prospect, although he's not as fast as he times. But beyound his size and athleticism, there isn't a ton to like. He's a tweener that doesn't really project well to the next level. Only two years of experience at cornerback, having moved from wide receiver 11 weeks into his freshman year. Productive with 9 picks and 16 passes defended in two years at corner.
NFL Forecast: Will struggle if he's placed in a man scheme. Ideal scheme is one that puts him in zone coverage and allows him to play in press a lot. Would work well in a press-heavy scheme, but lacks the ideal hips and burst to really do much when he lines up in off coverage. As a safety prospect, his subpar tackling ability will make him somewhat a liability. He'd be protected more in coverage, and looks like he could play centerfield in the Cover-2, but is the ideal candidate. His upside is a bit higher at safety if you can get him to become a better run stopper, but he's another one of those big college corners that is a tweener that I don't see lasting too long in the NFL. Reminds me more of Mike Rumph than Corey Chavous or Antrel Rolle. He'll stick around the league for a while because teams will be intrigued by his size and want to develop it, but I doubt he'll really do much. He'll be given starting opportunities because of his athletic potential, but I doubt he'll ever make the most of him.
ATL Forecast: If the Falcons added Smith, the best place for him would probably be at safety. Try to bulk him up a bit more and try to make that conversion. But he is too similar to Jimmy Williams to really like his chances in Atlanta. Like Williams, he'll be asked to play on special teams on because he's not going to be an immediate factor on defense at either corner or safety. And if he doesn't do well there, he'll be hard- pressed to make it on the field just like Williams.
Value: Smith has first round athleticism, but because he's a tweener that doesn't project well, I wouldn't take him until Day 2. The earliest he should go is late in Round Three.
Scouting Reports of cornerbacks in the 2009 NFL draft.
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