Tyron Smith is a long, athletic offensive tackle with a body in the Bruce Campbell mold. He has played almost his entire career at USC on the right said, but is a natural fit to slide to the left side in the NFL. Smith’s athleticism makes him a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme, but he has the upside to play left tackle in most any offense. He is relatively inexperienced, extremely young (20) and recently pulled out of the NFL combine while still recovering from a knee injury, which was slightly disappointing. So there are a lot of issues that need to be ironed out with Smith. But he has the highest upside of any offensive tackle in this class which should place him firmly in the top 15 picks of the upcoming draft.
Smith possesses extremely long arms (36 3/8”) which allows him to effectively control the defender in pass blocking. He has an excellent kick step to his right, but will have to prove he can effectively do this on the left side. He is not overly dominating with his initial punch at the point of attack, but time in the weight room should cure that. Smith is most effective against speed rushers and uses his athleticism to maintain the edge well. He is a natural bender who dips low in his stance and has great fluidity for a big man. He can be overaggressive at times, but that mainly comes from lack of experience. Smith played in a pro-style passing offense which should speed up his transition to the NFL game.
Smith is a talented athlete who has the chance to excel as a run blocker at the next level. He gets to the second level as well as anybody and is extremely light on his feet. He finishes his blocks, gets excellent leg drive, and never quits on a play. Smith possesses excellent balance, and looks so natural out on the edge lead blocking. He is a little inconsistent in his initial movement off the ball and plays too high in the running game. Because he played in a zone blocking scheme at USC he hasn’t shown the ability to be a drive blocking type tackle, or a mauler. I feel he has the size and athleticism to be that type of player if needed however.
One thing to keep in mind is the fact that Smith is only 20 years old and was playing high school football just three years ago. In addition, he was a backup his freshman year at USC so he really has only two solid years of playing football at a high level. That’s raw. Add to that the fact that his entire starting career at USC was at right tackle, and there are definitely concerns. He will need to learn a new position in the NFL and will make mistakes that go along with that. The positive factor here is that he played in a pro-style zone blocking scheme under respected line coaches Pat Ruel and James Cregg. Smith seems to understand that scheme very well and by all appearances is a coachable player.
Smith shows a little inconsistent hand placement which comes with lack of experience. He gets his hands a bit wide at times and more experienced defensive tackles take great advantage of this. Overall, however, his technique is pretty good. He stays in front of the defender well, has quick hands, and uses great leverage to his advantage. He tends to let defenders into his body too often. Smith will still need to get stronger, but is proving that he is putting in the time to make this happen (29 reps at the combine, the only drill he participated in).
Smith is one of the more mobile offensive linemen you will see. He moves like a defensive end or a tight end. He has loose hips and excellent speed which allows him to seal the edge extremely well on stretch plays and sweeps. He stays with blocks on linebackers extremely well and is just an overall marvel of athleticism.
Smith has excellent footwork and rarely seems out of place. He possesses a great kick step on the right side, but will have transition this to the left side. I don’t anticipate this being a huge problem for such an athletic guy. He gets excellent depth on this initial drop. Smith is extremely nimble with his feet as well, and never seems to get tripped up or look awkward and unbalanced on a play.
Smith weighed-in at the combine at 307 lbs. which thrilled scouts (he played his junior year at USC at 280 lbs.), but because he didn’t work out nobody knows yet just how he will carry that weight. The expectation is that he will be a workout marvel at his pro-day. There are some major concerns with Smith, however, and he is anything but a finished product. Although he occasionally moved to left tackle during games at USC, the absolute majority of his snaps were at right tackle. Considering that USC has used predominantly right-handed QB’s in his time there, you have to wonder why the coaching staff was reluctant to play Smith at left tackle. He missed a game in 2009 due to an academic suspension, and also has dealt with a few injuries in his career (knee, thumb, and ankle). If Smith can manage to answer all of these questions, he has a chance to be a top 10 pick.
2010: Played in all 12 games.
2009: Played in 12 of 13 games, missing one due to academic ineligibility.
2008: Played 10 games, mainly on special teams. Missed one game due to sprained ankle.
Smith is a public policy, management and planning major.
Awards & Honors
2010: Named All-Pac-10 first team; Named the offensive Morris Trophy winner in the Pac-10
2009: Named All-Pac-10 honorable mention; Named collegefootballnews.com sophomore All-American honorable mention.
Prospect Video Clips
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