Dallas Cowboys in Round 3
D’Ante Smith, East Carolina
Value: Slight Reach
One of the rising mid-round offensive tackles, Smith had a fantastic Senior Bowl and pro day. The Pirate is incredibly long, standing at 6-foot-5, 294 pounds with 35 1/4 inch arms and 10-inch hands. Those with good technique can do some serious damage against increasingly longer edges in the NFL.
But even with his freaky long body and good athletic ability, how does Smith end up a slight reach in the third round? On film, he displays the agility and lateral quickness to maintain half-man relationships with his defender. He has the stride length to manage speed rushers from 7-technique and on. He also displays good punch timing and location; with his long arms and big hands, edge defenders struggle to win with power as they can’t disengage from his blocks.
Even though he displays good play strength, Smith’s balance needs some work. This shouldn’t be surprising; Smith is high-waisted and possesses disproportionally long limbs. If he doesn’t fill his body correctly, he initially might struggle from not having enough core strength to keep his balance. Having to move so much inhibits his footwork and also leads to things like being unable to consistently defend counter moves that work to the inside.
Because of how well he moves, people do believe he could initially start at guard and work his way outside as he reworks his body to get stronger. In either way, the hope is he could be a tackle for a zone-blocking running scheme with the ability to really play in any passing scheme.