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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Kevin Smith
John Tuvey
April 22, 2008
Running Back - Central Florida

Combine Height: 6-1
Combine Weight: 217
Combine 40 Time: 4.43

Rushed for 2,567 yards on 450 carries, scoring 30 touchdowns and finishing 61 yards shy of Barry Sanders’ NCAA single-season record.

Skill Set:
No matter what level you’re playing at, if you rush for more than 2,500 yards and score 30 touchdowns you’re doing something right. And truth be told, NFL scouts don’t seem to have many questions about Smith’s speed, vision, and patience. What worries them is Smith’s thinnish build and upright running style, how that frame and that style might not hold up to pro-level punishment, and how that combo may compromise Smith’s ability to run between the tackles in the NFL. There are also worries that, while Smith has assembled a highlight reel of moments, he lacks the down-to-down consistency to be an effective full-time feature back. Still, those are some pretty minor knocks… especially when you hold them up against Smith’s 2007 productivity.

Possible Destinations:
Of the next tier of runners, Smith seems best suited to be a feature back in the NFL. His vision and cutting ability are ideal for a zone-blocking scheme, but he may not be on the board when the Texans make their selection in the middle of Round Three (79th overall). The Bears, Lions, Bengals, and Cardinals could be lining up Smith in the second round, and Chicago and Cincinnati will make their third-round pick before Houston goes on the clock as well.

Fantasy Impact:
Fantasy owners hope to find out early if Smith can handle the rigors of every-down duty in the NFL… because they hope he lands with a team who’ll put him in that role. He won’t be among the first half-dozen rookie runners taken in your fantasy draft, but in the right situation his productivity could certainly surpass those higher-drafted players. Of course his durability concerns and lack of a major college pedigree could prove the pessimistic scouts right, but there’s risk inherent in every pick of your fantasy draft. And if there’s an upside to be had along the lines of what Smith proved capable of at Central Florida, it’s a risk fantasy folks in both redraft and dynasty leagues will be willing to take.

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