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Shi Smith NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Carolina Panthers WR

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IMay 1, 2021

South Carolina wide receiver Shi Smith runs a pass pattern during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Florida , Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

HEIGHT: 5'9½"

WEIGHT: 186

     

POSITIVES

— Tough and doesn't back down over the middle; willing to fight through contact.

— Competitive player. Full go with everything and willing to get the tough yards. 

— Above-average on releases and was able to win on the outside, despite his undersized frame. 

— Has some jumping ability and can get up on a ladder to high-point throws.

— Above-average hands and maximizes his catching range. Has a flair for the spectacular, which is especially useful in the red zone.

— Productive on jet sweeps and other gadget plays. Shows some spatial awareness and anticipation.

       

NEGATIVES

— Below-average height and weight with a maxed-out frame.

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— Smooth athlete who plays at one speed. Average acceleration and long speed. Struggles to pull away once he has the ball in his hands.

— Average lateral quickness, doesn't consistently make defenders miss and can be very straight-line with his movements.

— Battled injuries throughout college career.

      

2020 STATISTICS

9 G, 57 rec., 633 yards, 11.1 avg., 4 TD

       

OVERALL

Shi Smith was a four-year contributor for South Carolina's offense working from both inside and outside, but he will likely do most of his work from the slot in the NFL. Smith is undersized, but he plays with toughness and flashes of explosiveness to high-point throws and play bigger than his frame indicates, which makes him very useful in the red zone.

Smith does have lateral limitations that show up with the ball in his hands and with his route running. He is rigid and straight-line with his movements and can struggle to make defenders miss because of his lack of agility.

Overall, Smith's competitiveness and return history are promising, but his lack of true dynamic ability with the ball in his hands, rigid movements and below-average size and frame make him a bit of a tweener. He's a big player in a small man's body. His willingness to play big and win versus press on the outside are appealing, but he will have to improve his route running from the slot position to make a sustained impact in the NFL.

     

GRADE: 6.8/10 (Round 5-6)

OVERALL RANK199/300

POSITION RANK: WR32

PRO COMPARISON: Jaydon Mickens 

     

Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice

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