Name: Eric Smith
Position fit: Tackle
Stats to know: Allowed 24 pressures in 2015 and 22 in 2016.
What he does best:
- Light and quick feet as a pass protector.
- Packs a powerful punch in pass protection.
- Great frame and size used to neutralize pass-rushers.
- Good job using size to lean on defenders and control the block.
- Moves decent on pull blocks and screen passes.
- Plays physical and through the whistle.
- Consistent solid performances at tackle throughout 2016 season.
- Improved his grading for three straight years.
- Ducks head from time to time when pass-blocking.
- Virginia utilized wide splits along their offensive line which aids the blocker as well as utilizing quite a bit of “slide” protection which is less stress on the tackles as opposed to the normal “big on big” protections.
- Did not perform well playing guard in the Senior Bowl.
- Showed susceptibility to a quick inside move by rush ends. Seven of his 22 surrendered pressures came to the inside.
Bottom line: Smith’s solid PFF grades and Senior Bowl invite speak to the many tangibles that are very appealing when you analyze his game. The good that jumps out are his light feet and powerful punch he can exhibit in pass protection that complement his good size and frame. When you couple that with Smith’s solid movement in space you see the aspects that make him a good prospect. Smith does duck his head from time to time as a pass-blocker and he was helped by Virginia’s pass-protection scheme as they utilized large splits and employed a decent amount of slide protection, which does not stress the tackles like a normal big on big (offensive lineman singled up on defensive lineman) protection scheme. While Smith did not play great in the Senior Bowl at right guard he had many plays throughout the season that highlight his skill level and make a case for Smith to be one of the intriguing tackle prospects in the 2017 draft class.