A burner with exceptional speed, Torrey Smith tortures defensive backs with his ability to beat them downfield. He actually plays faster than the 4.41 40 time, getting separation on vertical routes and racing past coverage units as a kick returner. As a speedy Maryland product, Smith draws comparisons to disappointing Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, but they aren’t all that similar. With his inconsistent hands and below average route running, Smith does struggle some in the areas that Heyward-Bey is woefully deficient in, but Smith’s weaknesses are far less pronounced. More importantly, he has the drive and work ethic to refine the rougher aspects of his game. If he does, he could be a very good #2 receiver who beats defenses over the top and uses his speed to gain plenty of yardage after the catch.
Smith isn’t a polished route runner, in part because of how he was used in Maryland’s offense. The coaching staff played to his strengths, often asking him to stretch the field vertically. Cornerbacks gave Smith lots of cushion, freeing him from the need to beat press coverage and allowing him to be effective on comeback routes. However, he wasn’t asked to run the entire route tree and struggled mightily when asked to do so during his Combine workout. At this point, he’s primarily a vertical threat who may need a year or two of development before he’ll be an effective all-around receiver.
Unfortunately, Smith lacks great hands. His mitts were among the smallest of the receivers at the Combine, and he too often catches the ball his body. He flashes the ability to make difficult grabs, especially when going to the ground to bring in the ball, but he’ll also have lapses in concentrations when he anticipates contact or tries to get upfield before bringing in the ball.
After the Catch
With his exceptional speed, Smith quickly gains large chunks of yardage and isn’t going to be brought down from behind. Though he’s quite capable of outrunning defenders, he isn’t quite as good at juking them. He has mildly stiff hips and only average agility, making him less sudden than other fast, shifty wideouts. He’s tougher to bring down than your typical speed merchant but isn’t going to power through a lot of tackles and gain significant yardage after contact.
Smith possesses good body control. He flashes the ability to contort his body and adjust to errant throws, though he doesn’t do so as consistently as one would like. His excellent acceleration will be what intrigues NFL teams most. Though he only possesses average agility, he’s able to make up for it with his ability to run past defenders, even if he isn’t going to have much success dancing around them.
Though Smith gives good effort as a blocker, he lacks the strength to be dominant in this aspect of his game. Hopefully, some time in an NFL weight room will improve his overall strength and allow him to be more effective.
With his deep threat ability, Smith would fit best in a vertical offense that allows him to contribute early on as a downfield target. Because of his intriguing tools, teams that run a West Coast offense may be interested in him as well, but his poor route running could limit his effectiveness in that system. Also, he hasn’t proven that he can be effective working over the middle; he’s better off running vertical routes than horizontal ones.
Size, Speed, Strength & Agility
At a shade under 6’1” and 204 lbs., Smith lacks special size to go along with his great speed but is big enough to start on the outside. He lacks impressive agility and needs to improve his overall strength; the former may be less correctable than the latter.
Smith has no known durability issues. He hasn’t missed a game since high school, an impressive feat for a player who’s played a large role both on offense and special teams. By all accounts, Smith possesses exceptional character. He overcame a difficult childhood and became the first person in his family to earn a college degree. The Maryland grad has said that he’ll “put his degree to work” if there’s an extended lockout. He’s a hard worker who’s received a strong endorsement from his coaches and served as a leader as a special teams captain. The Maryland product exhibits good toughness on the field. He’s willing to fight for extra yardage, even if he isn’t all that successful at doing so. He does have a tendency to drop some passes when facing contact, which could become an issue when he’s asked to go over the middle more often. Smith also played basketball in high school. Clips of him dunking the ball have made their way onto YouTube.
With his decent size, excellent speed, and great character, Smith has tremendous upside. He may never be a true #1 receiver, but he could be a very good #2 wideout who routinely gets behind defenses. That said, he’s got a good deal of work to do before he’ll be perfectly suited for that role. In the meantime, he could be a very good deep threat and serve as a team’s primary kick returner.
2010: 13 games played – 67 receptions, 1055 yards, 12 TDs
2009: 12 games played – 61 receptions, 828 yards, 5 TDs
2008: 12 games played – 24 receptions, 336 yards, 2 Tds
Smith graduated in December with a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Awards & Honors
2010: All-ACC 1st Team
2009: All-ACC 2nd Team, received Maryland’s Ray Krouse Away (Most Valuable Player)
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Prospect Video Clips
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