What scout reports said about Ante Smith’s Bengals draft pick
D’Ante Smith in the fourth round was the Cincinnati Bengals’ second attempt to tackle the offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Unlike second round Jackson Carman, Smith doesn’t have a clear way to earn a starting job as a rookie.
What he has, however, is an interesting story about his 2020 season that has plunged his stock and the comeback he’s making right now.
Right now, Smith seems to have a ton of long-term advantages as a starting tackle. Here’s what the experts said.
Zierlein ranked Smith in the fourth round and hinted at the big advantage:
âSmith has an intriguing length and good feet, but his lack of size and strength is a concern. Determining whether or not he has the frame to consistently carry over 300 pounds will be critical, as his lack of natural strength and bodily control is already working against him. He may need to start his professional career as a swing tackle while doing the necessary work to prepare for a bigger role. His Senior Bowl training was a big step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
The Draft Network have named Smith as a guy who could come out as a starter in his third year, which would be great for a Bengals side with veteran Riley Reiff on the right tackle right now:
âWhere Smith needs to improve is with his weight distribution, body control, contact balance and functional strength. He must also fill his frame to help him better resist the point of attack. There is an attraction to development at Smith, but there is notable work to be done. His best fit comes in a West Coast attack where he can settle quickly and avoid deeper sets of passes and in an area blocking stroke pattern where his modest power can be toned down and his mobility accentuated.
Oliver Hodgkinson of the Pro Football Network took another interesting direction, suggesting Smith could make a good indoor player, which the Bengals will likely consider as well:
âSmith could easily make a developmental tackle prospect with the potential to be a possible starter. However, he looked best at the Senior Bowl when he was lined up indoors. If he lands on a team that runs an area blocking system, it would use up his mobility a lot in the racing game.
The Bleacher Report Reconnaissance Service, like many, noted how good Smith was at the Senior Bowl once he put some weight back on his frame – which also made him a difficult assessment:
âHis strip showed promise using these traits, but his marginal playing strength, unrefined technique as a run blocker and robotic movements show a player who cannot be relied on as a starter early in his career. Weighing his performance in Mobile against the band makes his assessment tricky, but given his slight cadence, inability to gain the necessary weight earlier, and raw technique, I lean more towards a development perspective with potential to start. as a pro.