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2022 NFL Draft Profile: Tulsa OT Tyler Smith

Could Tyler Smith be the Broncos’ right tackle of the future?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 SMU at Tulsa Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WIth the Broncos pressing issue at right tackle, the team has already brought in a few prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft who can help fill that void. One such player was Tulsa OT Tyler Smith, who the Broncos are using one of their “top-30” visits.

The 335th-ranked recruit in the state of Texas in 2019, Smith had offers from teams like Houston and Navy, but chose Tulsa, where he started the final two games of his freshman season. Smith was named a Freshman All-American by the FWAA and The Athletic in 2020 and earned First-Team All-AAC that year as well. Smith earned Second-Team All-AAC in 2021.

Smith will be 21 as a rookie. He’s only allowed 16 pressures in his career on 764 pass blocks.

Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Mammoth of a tackle at 6’4 325, broad and well-built
  • Nasty and violent run blocker
  • Elite grip strength and overwhelming power at the point of attack
  • Quick out of his stance
  • Anchors well against power
  • Good lateral ability on the edge
  • Elite finishing mentality, competitive toughness is off the charts
  • Athleticism shows up moving in space

Weaknesses

  • Absolutely dirt raw in pass protection
  • Hands spray all over and aren’t accurate or timed well
  • Base and footwork are all over the place and get him in trouble. Stops his feet too often
  • Fails to set and hold the corner outside
  • Doesn’t line up targets in space well
  • Plays too high, poor pad level leads to him falling off of blocks easily
  • Vertical set will get abused at the NFL level without further growth
  • Lets defenders into his chest too easily
  • Undisciplined style of play, drew 16 penalties just last season. Will be a holding machine without growth. Suspended for a brawl at the end of 2020.
  • Just 34% of snaps on true passing sets. 8 of his 9 pressures allowed came in those 34%.

Final Thoughts

There are so many things that need to be fixed with Tyler Smith’s game that it’s tough to know where to start. A team is basically going to have to start from square one and develop him accordingly, as I don’t believe he’s ready for NFL competition. A lot of his footwork issues playing at tackle and dealing with speed rushers might warrant a move inside to guard in NFL evaluators eyes. There’s enough baseline traits to start working in his physical tools, competitive toughness, and overwhelming strength that there is potential as an eventual starter in the NFL. Smith is one of the youngest prospects in this entire draft class, and his game reflects that. He’ll require patience and proper development to reach the ceiling his tools project to, but that is something the NFL has proven time and again they aren’t good at providing. His landing spot will be crucial to future projections.

It’s tough to say he’s a fit for Denver. Flipping a player away from his natural position, even as raw as he is, is a developmental setback, something that Smith doesn’t need early on in his career. He’ll be on the heavier side of an outside zone OT as well. In a division with the pass-rushing talents that the AFC West boasts, I’d be very skeptical of throwing him into the fire as a rookie at a new position. His draft pick will likely warrant early results, which puts the onus on development quick. Unfortunately, we just don’t know how good new OL coach Butch Barry is, which makes his projection that much tougher. Denver’s looking to compete right away as well, which doesn’t typically blend well with developmental projects like Tyler Smith.

Poll

Do you want the Broncos to draft Tyler Smith?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Yes
    (84 votes)
  • 69%
    No
    (189 votes)
273 votes total Vote Now