Ito Smith NFL Draft 2018: Scouting Report for Atlanta Falcons' Pick

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 28, 2018

Southern Mississippi running back Ito Smith (25) runs upfield past Kentucky defenders for a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Hattiesburg, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

POSITIVES

—Filthy open-field moves that highlight lateral agility.

—Smith is a reliable receiver out of the backfield who can make plays behind the line of scrimmage or downfield.

—Has good vision on outside runs to press gaps and the patience to slowly move target angles to boundary.

—Can finesse his way to yardage inside with wiggle to sneak through for adequate gains.

—Enough speed to be a viable NFL-level running back.

     

NEGATIVES

—Small frame (weighed in at 5'9", 201 pounds at the Senior Bowl) that looks even smaller on film.

—Struggles to generate any extra yardage on runs in between the tackles.

—Lacks downhill power to finish runs falling forward.

—960 touches on a compact frame that doesn't look built to withstand routine NFL-caliber contact.

—Agility becomes too much of a reliance; lacks the patience to let plays develop or accept the five-yard runs.

     

OVERALL

Ito Smith is an excellent complementary piece to a bigger back that can handle the brunt of the dirty work. Smith is a valuable offensive weapon and can excel with roughly 10-15 schemed touches a game that utilize him as an explosive player in space. He'll struggle to generate significant and consistent yards as a runner between the tackles, but his pacing and vision on the edge is a reliable counter-piece to a starting back.

     

GRADE: 5.00 (Priority Free Agent)

PRO COMPARISON: Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns

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