Lacks ideal power/strength for the position and at times tries to make up for it by getting a bit more physical into contact and will get overextended and lunge into blocks and lose his man toward the corner. However, for the most part is a patient puncher who uncoils quickly into contact, is heavy handed for his size and has the body control to slide his feet and mirror through contact. Displays good hand placement and is tough to disengage from through the play. Possesses clean footwork on the outside, has a quick power step but at times gets a bit long with his footwork. However, for the most part maintains good balance, stays compact and has the range to consistently reach speed toward the edge and redirect in space.
Is a gifted athlete in space in the run game. Quickly releases to the second level, breaks down on his target and consistently is able to get his hands into contact and seal. Doesn't always hit what he sees when trying to cut defenders down at the line, but is quickly out of his stance when trying to step and seal and works his legs around defenders well through contact. Plays with good leverage as an in-line guy, extends his arms well into contact, bumps his legs and can create an initial surge because of his pad level and technique. Needs to continue to get stronger in order to do the same at the next level, but he should be able to pretty quickly in his career.
Impression: A gifted athlete for the position who at only 20 years old is far from a finished product. However, the flexibility, athleticism, frame and body control are all there for this guy to develop into a very good starting left or right tackle in the NFL, depending on where he feels comfortable."
Smith has obvious talent. Blessed with the prototype combination of size, balance and agility, he has the potential to develop into a top-flight left tackle in the NFL. He emerged as a standout in the Pac-10, winning the Morris Trophy as the conference's top offensive lineman as voted by the league's defensive linemen.
The concern, of course, is that he's making a huge jump in competition without having actually operated on the left side. Lacking the bulk and strength teams prefer at right tackle, Smith will be projected to the left tackle position in the NFL. It won't be difficult for scouts to fall in love with Smith's tools and make him an early selection come April.
The team had better be willing to accept growing pains, however, as the 20-year old Smith, while perhaps the most gifted offensive tackle in the 2011 draft, is nowhere near being a finished product.
Pass Blocking: His best trait. Flashes very good initial quickness and gains good depth with his initial kick-slide. Plays on the balls of his feet with good forward and lateral balance. Shuffles his feet laterally to mirror the defender. Has the long arms and strong hands to lock onto the defender. Loses focus and relies too much on his agility to remain in front of the pass rusher. Becomes susceptible to swim moves when he doesn't use his hands aggressively. Has the agility to handle converting to the left side.
Run Blocking: Good positional blocker. Quick off the snap and can catch and turn his opponent away from the play. Does a nice job of walling off his target, but needs to get stronger and keep his feet churning to drive his opponent out. Too often gets stood up by defenders, creating a pile that the ballcarrier must run around, rather than clearing a hole for the play to run through. Isn't afraid of contact and can drive the defender off the ball in short-yardage situations with his initial push, but isn't yet strong enough to finish blocks consistently.
Pulling/Trapping: Good mobility to pull and lead the toss-sweep. Good balance and straight-line speed getting to the second level. Struggles to hit the brakes and re-direct and allows his arms to flail at the defender, which could draw holding calls at the next level.
Initial Quickness: Inconsistent with his initial get-off. Capable of being the first off the snap, as he often is when he anticipates a blitz to his side or has to get out in front of a sweep play, but can also be among the last off the snap.
Downfield: Good athleticism and effort to make downfield blocks. Looks for someone to hit and will peel back if necessary to pop a defender giving chase. Good overall athleticism, but struggles changing direction and therefore must do a better job anticipating where the defender is going to be, rather than allowing him to rush past.
Intangibles: Only three years removed from high school. Occasionally moved to left tackle during games, but all 24 of his career starts were at right tackle. Missed the Boston College game in 2009 due to an academic suspension. Missed the 2010 Notre Dame game with a sprained knee. Played on special teams, blocking two kicks in 2010 (Washington State, Arizona State). Not yet a finished product. Turned 20 on Dec. 12.
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."
Smith is raw, but has limitless potential.
Smith was a backup as a true freshman behind current Indianapolis Colt, and former first round pick Charles Brown. He moved to the right side to start each of the last two seasons as a right tackle. He’s a bit on the light side, but he’s a physical specimen, much like Bruce Campbell who came out of Maryland last season.
Smith benefits heavily from his athletic build. For a 6’5 285 pound man, he moves very well, and is quite the workout warrior. He has very good feet, and gets a great drop step coming out of his stance in pass protection. He comes out nice and low, getting a good knee bend, and has quick enough feet to stay with quicker edge rushers. He’s quick off of the snap, and anchors down well. He is stronger than he looks, although he still needs to bulk up. He gets to the second level with ease, at times, and doesn’t stop until the whistle is blown. Smith does a nice job of mirroring his defenders consistently.
Smith’s size is a bit worrisome, and the fact that he hasn’t played left tackle more than but a handful of plays is something that teams will have to consider. He has played in a zone blocking scheme for his career, and doesn’t have much experience in driving defenders off of the ball in the run game. His hand placement could be improved, and he needs to learn to extend his arms and not let the defender get in on his pads. He struggles with the swim moves and doesn’t always recover well. Like we mentioned, he’s strong for his size, but he will need to bulk up and build strength as well as be groomed at the next level if he plans to play left tackle. He’s a raw project, but he has heavy upside.
Smith’s draft range is quite wide. It will really depend on what teams want to groom him, or have the patience to groom him as a left tackle. He won’t come in and start day one, which is why I think he moves to the second round. He could be taken at the end of the first round by teams like Atlanta, New England, Chicago, Green Bay and Pittsburgh. But if he slides to the second round, look for Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, and Arizona to take a hard look at him.
NFL Comparison: Ryan Harris"
Negatives: Has kind of a short wind-up to his punch... Punch lacks real pop... Inconsistent hand placement, allows his hands to get wide... Defenders can get inside his body and gain leverage advantage... Rises up when run blocking... Doesn't generate a lot of power at POA... Will lunge into some blocks... Needs to add some weight."
Weaknesses: A raw prospect, Smith needs to add strength and weight for the next level. He has been exclusively a right tackle at USC but is projected at left tackle because of his quick feet and athleticism. Struggles to redirect to stunts and blitzes as well as in space and on the second level to successfully make a block. Needs to be more aggressive with his hands. Missed the 2009 bowl game because he was academically ineligible.
Projection: Second rounder. Smith's raw ablility and athleticism could make him a target in the first round and a potential left tackle prospect. He could begin his career as a right tackle before moving to left tackle after a year or two."
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."
When I look at how these guys describe an O Line Grizzly, 90% of my evaluation derives from comments on:
Ramming Speed ~ How quickly he gets off the Snap.
Launching Power ~ How Explosive he is off the Snap.
Anchoring Strength ~ How well he holds the Point of Attack.
Blocking Viscosity ~ How well he sticks to his man.
Lateral Agility ~ How fluidly he moves down the Front.
Lateral Velocity ~ How rapidly he executes Pulls and Traps.
Tyron Smith needs work, let there be no doubt.
His Ramming Speed is excellent. His Launching Power, on the other hand, is weak. However, he is a phenomenal Athlete, and there is every reason to expect that, as he completes the process of growing into his Frame over the next year or so, he will develop sufficient lower body strength to obviate what is currently a weakness.
His Anchoring Strength also needs work, though is not as much a vulnerability, because he commands exceptional Gravitational Integrity: In English, that means that this Gym Rat invests heavily in Squats, which allows him to consistently keep his pads low and gain that critical Leverage Advantage.
His Viscosity needs improvement, as well, as his Hand Work is less than stellar. However, his amazing athleticism goes a long way in allowing him to mirror Defenders, and roll with them down the Line.
We're done with weaknesses: this exceptional athlete commands outstanding Lateral Agility and Lateral Velocity. If he continues to develop, he has the potential to be a multiple Pro Bowl attendant, provided, of course, that he is drafted by a Zone Blocking team, as he most certainly will be.
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