Sean Smith might have the most upside of any corner in this draft.
I talked yesterday about how I'm a big fan of CB Darius Butler. But he's not at the top of my NFL Draft "mancrush" list. Nope - that spot in my "heart" belongs to one player: Utah CB Sean Smith.
But you don't have to listen to me sing Smith's praises. Instead, I enlisted the help of Sean Reynolds - the great blogger from SBN's Utah Utes blog, Block U. Below are Sean Smith's numbers from the Combine and from his pro day, followed by Sean's scouting report on the big corner.
Height: 6'3 1/2" / Weight: 209
40: 4.47 / Arm: 34 5/8"" / Vertical: 32"
Sean Smith is the type of player opposing fans are going to hate. He's not only good, he isn't afraid to tell you he's good. That's why I loved Smith as a Utah football player, because he was the good kind of cocky. He knew what he could do and wasn't afraid to let the world know it and for a position like cornerback, it proved to be an asset.
Smith arrived at Utah in 2005, Kyle Whittingham's first year as the Utes' head coach, though he did redshirt. When he finally began playing in 2006, he actually played receiver for the first 11 games and was moved to cornerback for the final two -- a last-second loss to BYU and a victory over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. In 2007, he started in ten games for the Utes, nine at cornerback. He had four interceptions, which was the best for a single player in the Mountain West that year and tied the Utah single-game record with four pass breakups against the New Mexico Lobos toward the end of the 2007 season.
However, 2008 was definitely his year. Smith started in all but one game for the Utes, finishing First-Team All-Mountain West defensive back. His five interceptions on the season were the most on the team and tied for first in the conference. Smith's best performance, though, may have come in the Sugar Bowl, where he had six tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a huge pass breakup in Utah's stunning 31-17 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Where Smith thrives is the fact he's speedy and has the ability to stay with receivers, which is only reinforced by the fact he played receiver for Utah in his first season with the Utes. The big question, of course, is whether or not the success he saw at the college level can translate to the NFL. The fact he's only played on the defensive side of the ball the last two years, coupled with his inexperience, is a big reason he could fall to the second round. With that said, even though he might be a work in progress, Smith has the tools and the attitude to be a solid player in the NFL. I know there are draft experts who believe his ego might be too big and that the attitude could pose some problems, however, from what I've seen, Smith is a smart guy and knows his standing. I don't think it would prove to be an issue, but that might turn some coaches off.
Ultimately, I think Smith has what it takes to make it in the NFL and though he might not make a major impact out of the gate, with some work, especially with his speed, he could turn out to be a solid cornerback. Of course, I might be a bit biased, since I always want former Utes to do well in the NFL.
A big thank you to Sean from Block U for putting this report together. He also informed me that Sean Smith is doing a draft diary for the National Football Post. His first entry can be viewed by clicking here.
Also, keep in mind that there are a lot of reports out there which suggest the Dolphins have a fairly high amount of interest in Smith. Is that just a smokescreen? Perhaps. But it also wouldn't surprise me to see the Dolphins spend the 25th pick on him, either.