NFL Hot Press: Saints High on Tulsa LT Tyler Smith

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Combine Logo Saints High on Tulsa LT Tyler Smith

Updated March 4, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

There has been a lot of speculation on what the New Orleans Saints will do at the quarterback position. Future Hall of Fame Drew Brees retired in 2021, and veteran starter Jameis Winston is entering free agency again. One of the potential top free agents in the league is New Orleans left tackle Terron Armstead, and the franchise sits last in the NFL in terms of salary-cap space. With the quarterback decision being the most critical, New Orleans may not have the money to retain Armstead. Sources with the Saints told the team is high on Tulsa left tackle Tyler Smith who is seen as a similar prospect to Armstead.

Smith is known to have a big-time skill set, and scouts feel that from a skill-set perspective, he is right up there with N.C. State’s Ikem Ekonwu and Alabama’s Evan Neal.

Here are some recent thoughts of another area scout on Smith:

“He’s the definition of a dancing bear at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, freaky balance and bend. Powerful man. Physically in the Jason Peters, Greg Robinson sphere, not near as raw coming out, and the good tape is very good. Just needs time because he plays the game a bit like a defensive tackle and needs to learn patience. He could go to guard as a rookie just to get him on the field and let him tee off on people, and in the right situation, a perennial Pro Bowl talent. He’s the rare left tackle who can maul you in the run game. Not even close to what he can be – lightly recruited out of Fort Worth. Of the offensive linemen in this class, he’s the one who could just as easily flip over to defensive tackle and still be a high-end talent because he’s so big, explosive and physical.

“He’s a clear first-round talent. Back half of first round could get interesting. I know offensive line coaches – they will fight like hell to get him. Can’t find his size, athleticism, physicality, and raw intelligence at that young often enough. His issues are all correctable. As a player right now, he is more of a second-round pick, although if you watch Mississippi State, Oklahoma State both years, and Ohio State game this season, he was the best player on the field against their best completion.”

Here’s what one area scout texted me about Smith weeks ago:

“If Tyler Smith blows up his combine and workoutsm he could go top 10. He’s more gifted than the other offensive tackles in this class besides the N.C. State kid. Smith is 6-foot-5, 325 pounds with 34-plus-inch arms. As violent as he plays and the fact he can play guard also, I could see someone pushing him up because he’s only 20 and smart also. He’ll hover bottom 1/early 2 until workouts and then we’ll see how he handles process.”

Similar to Smith, Armstead was a freak athlete with size, speed and athleticism coming out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff. Over recent years, the Saints have committed a lot of premium resources to the offensive line, and that follows with the organization’s philosophy. The team has first-round picks invested in right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, right guard Cesar Ruiz and left guard Andrus Peat, as well as a second-round pick in center Erik McCoy.

If the Saints re-sign Winston or another veteran quarterback, they could use their first-round pick on a left tackle to finish off their line. Smith is a definite contender to be the Saints’ selection with the 18th-overall pick.