A cold-weather, tough kid from the Big Ten who is 6’6′ and 338 pounds is coming to Tampa to watch Jameis Winston’s back. I absolutely love it. This is a great follow up pick to Jameis Winston.
Here’s a breakdown of what he’s good at, and bad at. NFL comps I have seen are Max Starks and D.J. Fluker.
STRENGTHS: NFL scouts can check quite a few boxes when watching the Penn State tackle. Smith has the size, foot quickness and the high competitive nature that translates well to the next level. Smith slides smoothly to his left, maintaining the arc with good knee bend in pass protection. He flashes violent hands to control defenders and generally keeps his feet shuffling laterally to mirror. He’s quick to the second level and understands blocking angles, using his massive frame to legally get in the way of pursuing defenders without grasping on and drawing the flag. Smith is cognizant against the blitz, peeling off of his initial assignment, if needed, to get a quick shove on surprise rushers. Big and athletic enough to move to any of the other exterior positions, giving his future OL coach a lot of flexibility if Smith isn’t able to handle NFL speed off the edge.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to improve in several areas before NFL ready, most notably with his arm and hand technique to better shield himself to combat rushers’ initial pass rush moves. Smith has a bad habit of playing too high and needs to improve his knee bend, but the culprit there appears to be lack of consistent technique, not lack of flexibility. Does a nice job of protecting the corner but will get caught leaning outside and leave too much space inside. Flashes explosiveness with his punch but too often is satisfied with catching defenders and will lean into them as he tires. In doing so, Smith bends at the waist, leaving himself vulnerable to swims and spins. Wears double knee braces.
I was just telling my wife tonight what the Bucs needed in round two; a protector for Famous Jameis like Michael Oher was in The Blind Side (“remember honey, that book your dad told us he read about the Left Tackle, the second most important position in football?”). She said she remembered the movie.
Donovan Smith fits the mold just fine.