Is still raw from a footwork standpoint. Displays compact, clean footing when asked to slide, but plays in the Texas Tech type offense and is asked to simply just back-pedal off the line and there is no real kick-slide on his drop. However, he's a naturally balanced individual who has great movement skills and grace and should be able to quickly pick up the nuances of a kick-slide with some NFL coaching. Possesses good anchor strength as well, has the ability to get a bit stronger in both the upper and lower body, but plays with proper leverage, extends his long arms making it tough for defenders to get into his frame and is tough to push off the snap.
Is a gifted run blocker as well. Has a good first step off the snap, looks fluid on the move and does a great job reaching and breaking down on contact in space. Is very clean when asked to get his feet around and reach block and has the coordination to stay with defenders on slide down blocks as well. Lacks ideal power in his upper body and will have a tough time holding off defenders if they have a step on him with his upper half. However, he does have strong hands as an in-line guy, can gain leverage on contact and works his legs well to turn defenders from the play. Isn't a dominant in-line blocker, but has the pad level and potential to add more strength and become very proficient in that area as well.
Impression: Is only starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Possesses an excellent frame, is a very gifted athlete and bends extremely well for the position. Needs some time to develop, but I definitely see this guy starting as a left tackle for an NFL team in a year or two."
At this point in his development, Smith is too raw and inconsistent to project as a rookie starter in the NFL. Some offensive line coach is likely to be convinced he can coach Smith to block like Walter Jones every play, not just in spurts, and his draft status will reflect that potential of a probably Pro Bowler in two to three years.
Positives: Excellent lateral agility, slide and ability to pull, trap and seal. Very quick, can bend knees, sink hips, anchor and generate power. Ideal frame for the NFL left tackle position properly proportioned with long arms and strong hands. Can look like Walter Jones for possessions when he uses proper technique, but not full games. Smart in the classroom. Healthy and durable.
Negatives: Former defensive lineman has less than three years experience playing offensive line. Has a tendency to resort to bad habits, most recently in the second half against Maryland in the Military Bowl, including getting too high, waist bending, being late off the snap and occasionally clearly missing an assignment. Too many times allowed the defensive end to get under his outside shoulder on wide rushes. Hand placement is inconsistent, but improving.
Positive: Athletic tackle prospect with upside. Displays good movement skills and quick out to the second level. Jolts defenders at the point of attack, stays square, and turns opponents from the action. Keeps his feet moving, patient in pass protection, and flashes power. Gets movement run blocking and can adjust to linebackers on the second level. Bends his knees and shows decent footwork in pass protection.
Negative: Lacks blocking balance, bends at the waist, and is on the ground a bit much. Raw in his pass protection skills.
Analysis: Smith is a prospect who flashed terrific skill the past two seasons yet has not pulled together a complete game. He offers ability for the next level but needs time and technique work before he's NFL ready."
Negatives: Raw, former tight end... Kick-step is a little choppy... Needs to add some weight... Can be pushed back at POA... Doesn't possess a dominate punch... Doesn't get a lot of push in the running game... Not a dominate hole opener or pile mover."
As a junior he stepped right into the starting role at left tackle and helped lead the Pirates to a conference title. That team ranked sixth in the nation, allowing a mere 0.86 sacks per game. Giving up only 12 sacks in 14 games is very impressive and the left tackle deserves a ton of credit for that remarkable statistic. Making that even more impressive was the fact that most of the sacks allowed were early in the season while Smith and the rest of the line were still adjusting to their new roles.
At 6-6, Smith has the size to be a tackle in the NFL. He would likely move to the right side for now since he lacks the strength and agility that the top tackles in the NFL need to have. However, Smith is still relatively new to the position and he has room to improve and room to add weight to his large frame."
Willie "Fresh Prince" Smith brings a stunning blend of Anchoring Power, Sustainable Leverage, Fluidity, Lateral Agility, and Range to the table. His blend of Athleticism + Power at the Point of Attack is astonishing.
He's raw as hell, of course.
But Willie Smith, for my money, has 10 Pro Bowl + Hall of Fame Potential.
And he is currently projected for the 7th Round. I find that absolutely amazing.
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