The extremely raw but nasty and powerful Tyler Smith rounds out our 2022 NFL Draft OT profiles
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Tyler Smith – 6′ 5″, 324 – RS Junior, Offensive Tackle, Tulsa
Tyler Smith is a OT prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored an unofficial 8.76 RAS at the Combine out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 143 out of 1146 OT from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/zOkj8K3B1j #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/BMUXH7XwQK
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 5, 2022
Tyler Smith enters the 2022 NFL Draft cycle as a young and raw prospect with a low floor but a very high ceiling. Smith only turned 21 on April 3rd, making him one of the youngest OT prospects in the 2022 OT class. That youth shows up on tape in the form of technique shortfalls and misreads against defensive games. However, Smith plays with a nasty edge and displays exceptional strength that will help his transition to the pros.
Smith is short on experience (26 games played in 3 seasons) and will need to answer a lot of questions for teams to be comfortable in the upcoming NFL Draft. However, prospects with his blend of size and strength do not get passed up for long.
What I Like:
+Size & Length
+Pass Protection Potential
+Drive Block Ability
+Blocking in Space
Smith brings ideal physical measurements to the NFL Draft in terms of his height, weight, and arm length. He checks off all the boxes that scouts look for in OT prospects and those traits are visible on his film. He can keep defenders at a distance with his long arms and has the bulk to sit in his stance and anchor against power rushers. Smith needs a lot of work between the ears, but his physical build gives him a base for pro teams to work with.
Smith’s natural strength is also on display on the field as well. He can absolutely clamp up defenders in pass protection, especially when he can land his powerful hand punch on edge rushers to stun them at a distance, and then control them through the whistle.
OT Tyler Smith 😳
This guy has some meat hooks for hands. Brutal grip/torque strength when he gets a hold of you
…did he announce for 2022 yet? pic.twitter.com/AALjyhcKA2
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) January 17, 2022
Despite needing technical improvements to all facets of his game, Smith shows good lateral agility in his pass sets as he can get out on the edge quickly and smoothly from his stance at the snap of the ball. NFL Draft scouts will like his ability to mirror edge rushers in space due to his movement skills and can dominate rushers if he gets his hands on them.
He isn’t exactly widening the pocket here but LT Tyler Smith has some impressive flexibility for a guy his size pic.twitter.com/YEuUoHD2Bt
— Theo Ash (@TheoAshNFL) April 19, 2022
He is a large human and even with his technique shortcomings, Smith shows the ability to anchor against power. Smith shows good core strength and uses his very good frame and mass to reset and anchor after defenders land their initial punch on him when they utilize bull rushes on him. Smith enters the NFL Draft as an unpolished block of granite, but you can see the base of a solid pass protecting offensive tackle with some work on his game.
One area of Smith’s game that NFL Draft scouts will love is the nasty edge he plays with on every snap. He is a snap-through-whistle player and he looks to embarrass his opponent if given the chance. Smith embraces the physical side of the game and looks to take pleasure in putting his opponent in the dirt.
check out Tyler Smith, the LT for @TulsaFootball. you hear “roll your hips” all the time for OL. we were taught “drive your knees into the defender” instead. that combined with hand leverage (underneath DL) here allows Tyler to stay attached when the DE tries to shed him. pic.twitter.com/G1BVGBiU9F
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) November 7, 2021
Smith will get bonus points for the movement he can create in the run game. Many OT NFL Draft prospects are primarily positional or wall-off blockers in the run game. Smith unleashes his strength and bad demeanor on defenders in the run game. Smith will appeal to NFL teams that employ man or base heavy run games as he creates impressive movement on drive blocks. It isn’t always pretty, but Smith will get into the chest of his defenders and work to plant them into the turf.
Tyler Smith (OT) pulling and showing off his strength and physicality pic.twitter.com/Pe0j5YvB51
— NFL Prospect Clips (@NflProspectClip) April 19, 2022
Smith also shows the ability to pull thanks to his good foot speed. He gets to the hole quickly and is a bad surprise for free defenders looking to drive on the LOS and fill a run gap. NFL Draft OT prospects rarely pull so it’s another bit of versatility to Smith’s game that teams can take advantage of. Smith also shows the ability to engage and decimate 2nd-level defenders while on the move, a necessity in Zone and Duo run schemes. Smith’s ability in the run game will get him on the field in short-yardage and goal line situations as a rookie.
What I Haven’t Seen Yet:
-Use of Hands Technique
-Balance in Pass Sets
-Awareness & Football IQ
-Playing Under Control
Smith needs a lot of technique work as he enters the 2022 NFL Draft. Smith has several bad habits with his technique. The first up for discussion is his bad use of hands. His punch timing and technique are below average, as his hand punch is often late and his aiming point is consistently bad. He misses wide with his hands the majority of the time. In college, Smith could compensate for his subpar technique by simply physically dominating his opponent. In the pros, Smith will not have those strength advantages and therefore needs to improve his technique for his strength to play up.
Myjai Sanders doing this to Tyler Smith brings me so much pain and joy. My heart is so torn right now. pic.twitter.com/2kJdOTB9GX
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 9, 2022
Combined with his bad use of hands is Smith’s tendency to play with poor pad level. Smith shoots almost upright when he gets out of his stance and doesn’t play with adequate knee bend despite showing solid hip fluidity and ankle flexibility on film. Having poor pad level exposes Smith’s chest to the defender, allowing rushers to get into his pads and gain control of the rep. As shown in the clip above, Smith gets absolutely dominated by Myjai Sanders – an undersized edge rusher – on a speed-to-power rush due to Smith’s hand punch being tardy and poor pad level.
Smith’s poor pad level and stature lead to him having below-average balance in pass protection. Despite being a good athlete (8.76 RAS), Smith looks robotic and almost unnatural in his movements on the edge. His rigid movements are a direct result to playing with poor pad level and balance as he can’t change directions as efficiently and quickly as someone with his movement skills should. NFL Draft scouts will need to confirm Smith can be coached up in all areas, or his ceiling as an OT will be severely limited.
Smith’s youth at the position entering the NFL Draft shows in his post-snap awareness and ability to read advanced defensive schemes. Smith can pick up simple stunts, but he often looks lost when he’s initially left uncovered prior to the snap and can take an extra count too long to identify his blocking assignment when things aren’t explicitly set for him pre-snap. Smith should improve in this area as he gains more experience as on film, he looks to be thinking instead of playing.
While it’s a positive and one of the reasons he can be dominant, Smith will need to rein in the edge he plays with to avoid penalties or potential injuries to teammates when he chucks defenders to the ground. He’s not as much of a hothead as fellow 2022 NFL Draft classmate Trevor Penning, but Smith needs to make sure he’s not costing his team with dumb penalties due to blocking too far after the whistle.
In the run game, Smith needs to make sure he plays under control. While his strength is a great asset for himself and his team, Smith needs to keep his movements tight and efficient as he can attempt to go for kill shots on blocks in space and end up whiffing on his defender. Playing with a tad more restraint could do wonders for Smith’s game as he’ll be more under control and won’t either whiff on blocks or overrun assignments in space.
The 2022 NFL Draft class has numerous OT prospects who should have long, successful careers in the pros. Smith is a mid-major star who will need to make adjustments and improvements to his game and technique in order to maximize his upside. Smith brings endless tenacity and a fiery disposition to the field that will be welcomed in his locker room and fare him well as he transitions his game to the NFL.
His first coaching staff will need to be patient with him as Smith is a very raw prospect and needs a lot of technical work. But if he goes to the right situation, he could be a top-half starting Left Tackle in 3 years. That timeline may scare off a lot of teams in the NFL Draft, but we’ve seen teams take similarly raw prospects as early as Round 2 and hope their coaches can churn out a viable starter.
NFL Comp: Andre Smith
Role: Developmental Left Tackle
NFL Draft Grade: Day 3 Pick