2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Donovan Smith

  • Excellent size
  • Strength
  • Effective run-blocker
  • Ability to sustain blocks
  • Physical
  • Arm length
  • Balance
  • More agility than one would think
  • Shows some nimble movement for a big blocker
  • Has some quickness to the second level
  • Well suited for a man-blocking scheme
  • Ability to stay on his feet
  • Mean streak
  • Strong hands
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Not elite athlete
  • Lacks elite speed, quickness
  • Could stand to improve his conditioning
  • Should drop some extra weight
  • A bit of a catcher in pass protection
  • Can he handle NFL speed rushers?
  • Only a right tackle
  • Could improve his knee bend, pad level
  • Lunges at times after speed rushers

  • Summary: If you asked thr average Penn State fan if any of their 2014 offensive line belonged playing in the NFL, they would probably tell you no. Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg was running for his life for the majority of the season as the line had a lot of struggles. The one exception to that was Smith. He was a steady tackle for the Nittany Lions, and it was the rest of the line that had consistent breakdowns.

    At the Senior Bowl, Smith had a strong week of practice. He really pushed around defensive linemen throughout his time in Mobile. Smith was a bull in the ground game, blasting linemen off the line of scrimmage and moving them out of their gaps. Smith also showed potential in pass blocking, but he needs refinement. Smith held his own in the pass-rushing one-on-ones, but didn’t dominate.

    Entering the NFL, Smith is strong at the point of attack. He has heavy hands and sustains his blocks well. Smith can be bulldozer in the ground game and plays with a mean streak. He can ride his blockers out of the play and blocks through the whistle. Smith also is quick to fire to the second level and can hit blocks on linebackers to spring his backs to the second level. Overall, his run blocking his ahead of his pass blocking.

    As a pass-protector, Smith should move to right tackle. He doesn’t have the feet, quickness or agility to play left tackle in the NFL. Smith could stand to work on his feet and not reach after pass-rushers. Early on in his NFL career, he would benefit from some tight end help on his side. Smith has a strong base and is tough to bull rush, but speed rushers could work him going around the corner or cutting to the inside. That being said, Smith has a skill set to develop and could eventually be a well-balanced blocker. He would be better off in a power-man scheme rather than a zone scheme.

    Smith is a right tackle all the way for the NFL. He could possibly move inside to be a power right guard, but he doesn’t look athletic enough to play left tackle. Smith looks like a second-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Max Starks/Marvel Smith. Donovan Smith is comparable to the former Steelers offensive tackles. Marvel Smith (6-5, 325) was the Steelers left tackle in their Super Bowl XL championship. Injuries killed his career and cut it short. Starks (6-8, 345) was a solid pro and part of Pittsburgh’s smash-mouth offense. Starks played right and left tackle for the Steelers. Both of the veteran tackles struggled with speed rushers at times, and that could be an issue for Smith. Starks and Marvel demonstrated a playing style as tough run blockers who could push defensive linemen off the line of scrimmage, and Smith could be the same way.

    NFL Matches: Carolina, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Oakland, New York Giants, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, San Diego

    There are a number of options for Smith in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Panthers need to upgrade their offensive tackles, and Smith could be a fit for them. Carolina could miss out on the top offensive tackles, and Smith could be one of the organization’s best options available after the Round 1.

    The Bucs need a left tackle of the future, another tackle, and a guard to pair with Logan Mankins. Smith would be a fit for Tampa Bay at pick No. 34 – or pick No. 65 if he makes it to the latter. Smith could step in at guard or right tackle to be an instant starter.

    Tennessee has a need right tackle. If Smith is the best player available at No. 66, he could be the selection for the Titans. The Raiders also have bigger needs, but they have some age at offensive tackle and could stand to get younger.

    The Giants are looking to improve their offensive line, and Smith could be a fit for them in Round 2 if they don’t take an offensive lineman on Thursday night. Cleveland could use more talent on the inside and at right tackle. Smith would be a nice addition for the Browns in the second round.

    The Chiefs and Chargers also need a lot of help on their offensive lines.

    The Rams seem like a logical landing spot for Smith if they don’t draft an offensive tackle in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. St. Louis must keep Nick Foles healthy to have any shot at making a run at the playoffs in the rugged NFC West. Joe Barksdale could be upgraded at right tackle, and Davin Joseph isn’t a long-term starter at right guard. In the second round, Smith looks like a potential fit for the Rams and could form a nice bookend with Greg Robinson.


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