2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Tyler Smithby Alex Barbour April 6, 2022 1 comment
Tyler Smith is a late riser in the 2022 NFL Draft process. Although he plays at an American Athletic Conference (AAC) school, his talent screams NFL-worthy. So many say Smith is a guard in the NFL, and the tape might prove the claim’s validity. Will his lower level of play limit his ceiling? Let’s dive into the tape and find out.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.
Name: Tyler Smith
Jersey: No. 56
Position: Offensive Tackle
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Weight: 332 lbs
Games Watched: Ohio State (2021), Houston (2021), Cincinnati (2021), Old Dominion (2021), Cincinnati (2020)
Major Injury History: None
Pass Blocking (14/15)
He is extremely dominant as a pass blocker. As long as Smith can be in front of his defender, he is one of the best pass blockers in this class. The pop in the hands is superb, and defenders reflect it when they are completely knocked off their angle and their base. As a tackle, Smith recorded 16 penalties for holding, which is due to his lack of lateral mobility and tracking. Being a guard is the best-case scenario for the Tulsa prospect in the short run.
Run Blocking (15/15)
Watch out, Smith is an absolute animal in the run game and is the real deal. With a 93.9 PFF run-blocking grade, this is not a secret. Big-time blocks occur on a regular basis, so do not think that this will change when the Tulsa product moves to the next level. Even Smith’s tracking downfield is upper echelon. This area is the best part of his game.
Apart from speed rushers, Smith is quite consistent with using his full length. This will need to be an area of improvement as time progresses, but it is far from a red flag. In short, don’t fret. As a guard, the Tulsa product will not have to deal with getting ‘bended’ by speed rushers. Smith will be in a prime position to maximize his abilities here. There is simply too much to love about his potential at the next level.
Smith is quite raw mechanically. By no means is he a lost cause like Daniel Faalele, but the concerns are valid. Smith’s athletic profile makes it difficult to use proper form when the defender is already around him, so, again, his immediate impact at guard will negate this issue to a degree. Smith needs training, but not too much. In a year or two, under the right mentorship, this problem can easily be erased.
Similar to his footwork, Smith’s mechanics are a short-term red flag. This may be one of the reasons he cannot be a left tackle from the beginning. Once again, this issue will be greatly reduced at guard. A new factor here is his poor tracking for speed rushers. This factor may also highlight the supposed athletic concerns against the faster edges, since he may not position himself properly enough.
The lateral mobility concerns are prevalent. 16 holding penalties are statistical proof. The pancake blocks, on the other hand, are proof of insane strength. The real question is how much of a factor is poorly tracking the defender when analyzing lateral mobility. With over an eight relative athletic score (RAS), that factor may be greater than this score suggests. A 5.02 40-yard dash time proves that the speed is there, especially when paired with a solid 4.65-second short shuttle. The question is whether these numbers will be seen on Sundays. With no Senior Bowl or bowl game of any nature, the scouting world can only hope.
Smith will be a guard in the short term. However, he has the ability to be a franchise left tackle in the long run. That in itself should be enough to get near a ten. He is also just turning 21 in April, so Smith is so moldable that the sky is the limit. Any team that grabs this prospect has the potential of training a Swiss army knife to have for decades.
This may be an issue due to poor positioning. Smith was seen giving ground to defenders when he was out of position. It could be due to sub-elite mechanics and footwork, but the issue still remains. The Tulsa product will be able to focus on developing these areas of ‘imperfection’ at guard. In short, Smith’s problems are easily solvable, and this one seems more technical than physical.
To be fair, 16 holding penalties are no joke. That being said, many of those instances came from speed rushers outmaneuvering Smith. Without that concern for being ‘bended,’ holding frequency should be greatly reduced. After all, 332 pounds takes up a lot of room, so there is very little room for defenders to squeeze by with ease (in comparison to the boundary of the pocket). It is hard to not give a five here, but that point has to be addressed.
Smith has too much potential. Not many are tapping into the guard-to-tackle progression the way this report does, but that is the best path imaginable. At 21 years of age, the sky is truly the limit. With a large, powerful, moldable offensive lineman that is extremely versatile, teams can negate any concern of a future at tackle or guard. That is a primary concern of many franchises today that does not seem to be fixable on the near horizon. That is if they pass on Smith. The raw tools are simply too good to pass on. This prospect may not go in the first round of this draft, but he certainly will when the ‘re-mock drafts’ start coming out in the years to come.
Rookie Projections: Starting Guard
Third Year Projections: Top-15 Left Tackle
Final Grade (85.5/100): Late First-Round Pick
Player Comp: Teven Jenkins
Follow Alex Barbour on Twitter @hailmarysportss
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images