Concerns about Maryland’s Torrey Smith

April 05, 2011 | Brian Billick

Maryland’s Torrey Smith reminds me of another speedy Terrapin, Darrius Heyward Bey, and not just because of their college roots.  They are both straight-line speedsters that can be explosive playmakers, but inconsistently taints their overall ability.

On tape, Smith appears to be a little tight in his routes and struggles maintaining his elite speed in and out of his breaks.  Additionally, he shows a lack of flexibility when trying to adjust to poorly thrown balls.  On a field stretching “go” route, his best, he seems uncomfortable adjusting to balls thrown over his outside shoulder, losing track of the ball when rolling his head inside out.  Also on deeper routes, he has a tendency to attack the ball with just on arm, he will need to reach out with two to consistently bring balls down in the NFL.

I do like how Smith eats up cushion off the snap, but he will need to prove he can snap off a comeback route for the deep threat to be more meaningful.  He is better at running by defenders in man coverage, but has shown the awareness to throttle down in zone coverage.  After the catch, he is a major threat, as it was very difficult for tacklers to bring him down with just an arm tackle.  Once in the open field, there won’t be many that can chase him down.

Some talent evaluators have Smith as the third best wide receiver int he draft, but I hesitate to give him such a high grade.  HIs speed with be enticing, but I would encourage teams to look at the full tape before using a first round pick on him.