Throughout the summer, National Scout Jon Ledyard, Assistant Director Joe Marino and Scouting Director Kyle Crabbs will be conducting summer assessments on 99 notable senior prospects. Of these 99 seniors, the 33 most prominent will be covered by all three analysts.
Of the remaining 66, each of the three analysts has “drafted” 22 of them to scout exclusively.
This serves as the foundation for our 2018 draft assessments.
Scout: Joe Marino
Name: Braden Smith
Position: Offensive Line
High School: Olathe South (Kansas)
Games Played: 39
Games Started: 27
Production: Not applicable for offensive line
High School: Two-time Buck Buchanan Award finalist which honors the Kansas City metro most outstanding lineman. Started on offense and defense. All-State, All-Region and All-Conference on both offense and defense. State shot put and discus champion. MaxPreps All-American. Four-star recruit.
College: 2014-All-SEC freshman team. 2015-AP Second team All-SEC. 2016-First Team All-SEC.
Strengths: Powerful and aggressive blocker who generates a strong initial surge off the ball. Plays with good leverage as a run blocker and uncoils quickly to move bodies. Hand strike is powerful and allows him to turn out defensive lineman while working his hips around to create lanes. Understands how to work his body into favorable positions and work angles. Good strength in the lower half to drive his legs and create movement. Has good movement skills and foot speed to slide his feet and shut down gaps. Does well to mirror pass rushers and square up. Has no issues when pass rushers attack the edges to square his hips and get in front/steer them wide. Tremendous awareness to defend against stunts and pressure packages. Always looks for and finds work.
Weaknesses: Could improve second level tracking to more consistently connect. Hands can occasionally get too wide and expose his chest plate allowing defenders to get into his pads and control the rep.
Summary: Auburn offensive lineman Braden Smith is projected to play tackle in his senior season but I believe he has a natural fit at guard where his ability to uncoil quickly to uproot defensive lineman is accentuated. He has the body control and foot speed to protect interior gaps with the functional strength to maintain the proper depth of the pocket.
Like most Auburn offensive line prospects, Smith understands how to work angles and work his body positioning which he pairs perfectly with his power and aggressive nature. This combination leads to Smith opening up sizable lanes for his ball carriers.
Amid a 27 consecutive games started streak, Smith is building a strong resume to pair with his physical traits and on-field performance. Another strong campaign should put Smith firmly in the top 75 prospects of 2018.
Predicted Value Range: Day Two