2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Prospect: Braden Smith
Ht: 6'6" Wt: 303
|All Scouting Reports||Prospect Bio|
Evaluated by: Anthony Godinez
Games Evaluated: Clemson, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Missouri
Smith plays in a run heavy offense so it is no surprise he is a well-polished run blocker. At Auburn he is asked to perform pull, down and combo blocks regularly. Smith will use consistent foot drive and above average upper body strength to open holes at the line of scrimmage. While engaged with his man he rarely falls off his block because he does a good job keeping centered on his target, staying low and strong hand usage. He also has a solid, but not overpowering, hand punch when attacking defenders on all levels. At the snap of the ball Smith is always ready to fire off quickly and was not flagged for false start on any snap viewed. In pass protection Smith's large frame makes it hard for DTs to get around him. The times where he was a step behind the defender he was still able to get a hand in their chest and recover to stop the rush. He is very effective when he attacks the defender first rather than allowing them to get into their rush. When he does drop into his pass protection set he mirrors the defender well. For a player of his size his footwork is surprisingly good but needs to be quicker. He struggled when DTs tried to get around him using a speed rush. I was impressed at his awareness when tasked with being responsible for blitz pick-up and help. Smith does a great job of keeping his head on a swivel to recognizing where help is needed and reacts quickly to any dangers.
While I see positives in his run and pass blocking a troubling deficiency is his athleticism. While Smith shows natural ability to bend at the hips and knees he is slow footed. His lack of foot speed makes causes him to struggle with pull blocks. When drop stepping into his pull Smith will have wasted movement and will take a wide arc when turning upfield. This was an all too common occurrence for my liking. With the speed at which the NFL plays it is hard to imagine him being successful at pull blocking in the NFL. His struggle with foot speed could be related to his lower body frame. Smith seems to walk on the outside of feet and will waddle side to side when walking.
Another area where Smith struggles is his hand placement. Despite using his hands effectively while engaging a defender he will routinely have his hands out of place. While in-line blocking he has a tendency to allow his inside hand slip to the outside of the defenders shoulder pads. Once he locks on he is solid but will struggle to control defender meanwhile. If he were to be more consistent with getting both hands inside the defender he will be a more dominating blocker. This is the same issue when he blocks on the second level. He does a great job of staying low to take on smaller defenders but will allow defenders to disengage because he does not have complete hand control over them.
Overall I was impressed by Smith's performances. The offense features him and runs through him at every opportunity. Smith goes up against top defensive prospects regularly so he will be tested and proven prospect some draft time. His performances against top prospect Christian Wilkins and future top prospect Jeffery Simmons were near perfect. The only blemish I saw was on a broken play vs Clemson and Wilkins got in for a sack. Even with his below average athleticism he is an extremely effective blocker. I fall short of classifying him as dominating but effective nonetheless. If not for the athleticism concern I would lock him into the first round but I don't see him lasting past the first half of the second round.
Compares to (Current NFL Player): Kenny Wiggins (Los Angeles Chargers)
- Great bend in hips and knees
- Strong and effective at point of attack
- Experienced run blocker on all levels
- Solid punch
- Possesses good strength in upper and lower body
- Anchors well against bull rush
- Maintains blocks
- Consistent with proper pad level on all levels
- Fires off LOS quickly
- Good balance while driving feet
- Able to mirror in deep pass sets
- Very effective in quick pass pro sets
- Intelligent player
- High level of competition
- Good footwork
- Below average athleticism
- Inconsistent hand placement
- Wasted movement while pull blocking
- Allows defender to disengage too often
- Struggles against speed rush
- Awkward gait
- Does not play with an "edge"
|Scouting Video Courtesy of Draft Breakdown|
1)   Auburn's Braden Smith eager for homecoming with Mizzou matchup   - The Kansas City Star |
2)   'IT'S THE PERFECT PLACE FOR HIM' - BRADEN SMITH'S FAMILY, FRIENDS SHOW SUPPORT ON THE ROAD   - AuburnTigers.com |
3)   WATCH: Auburn's Braden Smith makes crushing block
- Auburn.247sports.com |
5)   Braden Smith Instagram|