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D'Ante Smith NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Cincinnati Bengals OT

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IMay 1, 2021

American Team offensive lineman D'Ante Smith of East Carolina (67) walks the sidelines during the NCAA Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Matthew Hinton/Associated Press


HEIGHT:
 6'5"

WEIGHT: 305 lbs

        

POSITIVES

—Excellent length (35 ¼).

—Purposefully keeps his hips square in his pass set until the intersect point.

—Good foot quickness with the range to get to his spot against Wide 9 rushers attacking the corner.

—Shows willingness to try a variety of hand techniques and pass sets to keep rushers guessing.

—Has the desired mobility in his hips to flex, bend and transition into his anchor quickly against speed to power.

—Plays with an aggressive mindset to stay engaged, strain and finish when he gets defenders off balance.

—Gained nearly 20 pounds and had an excellent couple of days of practice at the Senior Bowl at 294 pounds.

         

NEGATIVES

—Slight frame and lean build that suggests it may be difficult for him to maintain 300 pounds long-term.

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—Jerky, unrefined footwork and use of hands that results in too many glaring, quick losses, especially on angle/hinge blocks as a run blocker.

—Marginal play strength and poor upper-body strength; struggles to generate or displace first-level defenders.

—High cut frame with some lateral stiffness that makes it difficult for him to redirect and line up smaller targets in space.

—Leans and grabs at the point of attack too often, leaving him vulnerable to being on the ground against defenders who are skilled using hesitations and stutters to evade initial contact.

       

2020 STATISTICS

—Made one start before suffering an undisclosed season-ending injury.

       

NOTES

—32 career games played with 26 consecutive starts (25 at left tackle, one at left guard).

—Invited and participated in the 2021 Senior Bowl.

—Former high school wrestler.

Enjoys studying Dion Dawkins and Laremy Tunsil.

Said he was at 305 pounds on January 27.

      

OVERALL

Smith is an intriguing prospect given his impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl while carrying nearly 20 pounds more than his playing weight (294 compared to 275-280) and has prototypical length with the foot quickness and range to excel at tackle.

His tape showed some promise using these traits, but his marginal play strength, unrefined technique as a run blocker and robotic movements show a player who can't be counted on as a starter early in his career. Weighing his performance in Mobile against the tape makes his evaluation tricky, but given his slight frame, inability to gain the needed weight earlier and raw technique, I lean toward more of a developmental prospect with starting potential down the road as a pro.

      

GRADE: 6.9/10 (Rotational player, 5th round)

OVERALL RANK: 179/300

POSITION RANK: OT18

PRO COMPARISON: Jamarco Jones

      

Written by B/R NFL Scout Brandon Thorn

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