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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: OT D’Ante Smith

  • The Draft Network
  • January 9, 2021
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D’Ante Smith was the primary starting left tackle for East Carolina in 2018 and 2019. He was expected to start for a third year in 2020 but an undisclosed injury limited him to just one game. Smith features a lean, athletic build and has good mobility, hand usage, and length. Where Smith needs to improve is with his weight distribution, body control, contact balance, and functional strength. He also needs to fill out his frame to help him hold up more effectively at the point of attack. There is developmental appeal with Smith, but there is notable work to be done. His best fit comes in a west coast offense where he can quick set and avoid deeper pass sets and in a zone blocking run scheme where his modest power can be mitigated and mobility accentuated. There should not be expectations of him starting on Sundays early in his career, but he could compete for a starting role by Year 3 should he develop. 

Ideal Role: Developmental offensive tackle.

Scheme Fit: West coast, zone run scheme.


Written by Joe Marino 

Games watched: Cincinnati (2019), NC State (2019), Tulsa (2019), Temple (2019), UCF (2020)

Best Game Studied: Tulsa (2019)

Worst Game Studied: Cincinnati (2019) 

Balance: Smith struggles to remain under control due to his inconsistent weight distribution. He has a tendency to play with his weight too far forward, get top heavy, lunge, fold at the waist, and fall off blocks. He needs to be more deliberate and consistent keeping more of his weight back so that he can have better contact balance and sustain blocks with more consistency.  

Pass Sets: When Smith quick sets and is aggressive to invade the “cylinder” of his opponent, he puts the clamps down and appropriately maintains the width of the pocket. While he has the mobility needed for deeper sets, when he’s too patient in pass protection the results are highly inconsistent. He has to become more consistent keeping his feet engaged, bending at the knee, and trusting that he has the foot speed to stay square. 

Competitive Toughness: Smith battles on the football field and consistently looks for work. He has good temperament and enthusiasm exchanging power in the trenches. He is willing to trail plays and execute down the field as plays elongate. 

Lateral Mobility: Smith has plenty of foot speed and looseness to work laterally. With that said, he has to be more deliberate about keeping his feet engaged. There are too many instances where he becomes top heavy and his feet lag, creating balance problems that rob him of lateral quickness. 

Length: Smith appears to have sufficient length and his best reps come when he is aggressive with his hands to win with first contact. When he gets defenders at the end of his reach, he does well to play with extension and keep them there. Smith has good timing and placement with his hands, and overall he’s quite effective using his length to win. 

Football IQ: Smith doesn’t appear to have much comfort when he’s challenged with pressure packages and stunts. His timing when passing off blocks and redirecting is inconsistent and it doesn’t feel like there was much cohesion at East Carolina when it comes to pass protection. Smith’s hand technique is sound but there is otherwise notable room for technical improvement.

Hand Technique: Smith generally has good placement and timing with his hands. He does a good job of finding surface area and fitting his hands to help control reps. He has shown the ability to refit his hands and he keeps them engaged throughout each rep.  

Anchor Ability: Smith has a modest anchor and there are times where he gets walked back where his lack of mass becomes an issue. With him often having his weight too far forward, it creates issues when he needs to absorb power and leverage his hips. Getting stronger and improving his weight distribution will be a key component in his development. 

Power at P.O.A.: Smith has modest power at the point of attack and he won’t be confused as a mauler. Improving his weight distribution will help, but he has to add bulk and functional strength to become a meaningful blocker at the next level. He’s more of a positional blocker that needs to develop more body control.  

Versatility: Outside of some utility blocker reps early in his career and one game at left guard in 2017, the entirety of his career has been spent at left tackle. He’s best suited to play in a west coast offense that employs a zone blocking run scheme. He could probably play some right tackle if needed, but isn’t likely a candidate to play on the interior.  

Prospect Comparison: Jamon Meredith (2009 NFL Draft, Green Bay Packers) 


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Joe Marino: 72.00/100

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