Terell Smith Complete NFL Draft Profile (Minnesota Corner Lacks Upside as Older Prospect)
Terell Smith is headed to the 2023 NFL Draft following a 2022 season that saw him finally return to the heights he flashed as a freshman way back in 2018. As an older prospect without a long track record of dominant play, Smith has faced an uphill battle proving his worth to NFL scouts.
Here's everything you need to know about Terell Smith heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.
Terell Smith Draft Stock & Mock Draft Projections
Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers
San Francisco 49ers
Mock draft sources accurate as of 4/25 NFL.com, ESPN, CBS, Walter Football, Sporting News.
Projected Draft Round: Round 7 (2), Round 4 (2), Undrafted (1)
Projected Team: Raiders (1), Chargers (1), Vikings (1), 49ers (1), Undrafted (1)
Terell Smith Scouting Report
Terell Smith is an ascending cornerback from Minnesota with an excellent combination of size, speed, and toughness. He has shown significant improvement in his technique and game film from 2021 to 2022. Smith is adept at staying low and patient in his backpedal, and his above-average footwork for a cornerback of his size allows him to mirror the release and stay connected to deep routes. He has experience in various coverage forms, but he excels in press and off-man. Smith is a reliable tackler, and his playing disposition aligns with NFL run support expectations. Although his on-ball production is somewhat light, his traits and talent make him suitable for a starting role as an outside cornerback or a transition to safety.
Smith's strengths include his size and length, physical and athletic traits that enable him to fit into a variety of schemes. He has nimble feet, allowing him to slide and match releases, while his play strength makes the first five yards challenging for receivers. He is skilled at anticipating breaks from off-man and racing into passing lanes, and his top-end speed keeps him in phase with vertical threats. Quick to pounce after the catch and limit yards after catch, Smith is also a valuable run supporter.
However, Smith's weaknesses include a lack of ball production relative to his traits, letting interception opportunities slip away, and struggles with flip-and-sprint from off-man positioning. He also has a small stall in his lateral transitions and an average plant-and-go from the top of his backpedal. Clever route runners can sometimes turn him around.
Smith is a better tackler than his size might suggest, and he is instinctive, alert, and strong in zone coverage. He is adept at reading routes, anticipating throws, and has solid ball skills. He has quick feet and excellent change-of-direction ability, making him capable of mirroring quickness underneath. However, he can be prone to lapses, inconsistent footwork, and backpedal, and he tends to panic and get too handsy when running downfield.
Smith is very much still a developing cornerback, but his draft stock is on the rise after turning in a terrific campaign in 2022 and impressive Shrine Bowl practices. He is a gifted athlete with a considerable upside, and with proper coaching, Smith has the potential to break into a starting lineup within two years.
Terell Smith NFL Draft Prediction
When you're drafting a mid-round player who is going to be 24 years old before their rookie season, you're probably not looking at someone with sky-high upside. That's not the profile of a guy who breaks out and becomes a star very often.
So instead, teams will be looking to Smith to become a strong depth piece with the upside to become a serviceable starter if needed. That makes him a much better fit for a contender than for a rebuilding team looking to hit some home runs.
This makes him an intriguing fit for the 49ers, who have a solid defensive backfield which allow Smith to take some time to develop and not be forced into a role he's not ready for.
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers (Round 5, 155 overall)
Check out more NFL Draft Coverage from The Duel:
Terell Smith NFL Combine Results
Terell Smith Minnesota Stats