It’s taken five scouting reports, but at some point we all knew I was going to write up a UCF player. Luckily for me, there are several intriguing prospects in this draft class. One of those players is WR Tre’Quan Smith, who is coming off an impressive performance in the Senior Bowl.
Smith is a deep threat with many highlight-reel catches to his name and a whopping 13 TDs in 2017. He’s improved every year at UCF, culminating in an impressive redshirt junior season that saw him pile up 59 receptions for 1171 yards—giving him a ludicrous 19.8 yards per catch. Smith also had a knack for showing up in the biggest moments for UCF, as he had his best game of the season in the American Athletic Championship against Memphis (6 catches for 161 yards and 2 TDs).
To get the full picture of Smith, I watched him against Auburn (Peach Bowl), Memphis (AAC Championship), and Maryland. Below is my formal scouting report on the speedy receiver. Enjoy at your leisure.
Scouting Report: WR Tre’Quan Smith, UCF
Smith’s long speed immediately stands out. He can separate on downfield routes with ease and is a smooth, fluid mover in space. Able to generate additional yards after the catch with a combination of wiggle and strength. Smith’s best trait might be his ridiculously long arms—34 1/2”—that give him a huge catch radius. He’ll go up and fight for jump balls and can make some spectacular catches downfield and in traffic with his strong hands.
Smith also showcased some versatility at UCF, lining up outside, in the slot, and even in the backfield as a jet sweep and reverse threat. He’s also a willing blocker with decent technique and strength that contributed to some big plays in the running game. Smith is a dangerous deep threat, but also had impressive red zone production (13 TDs in 2017)—showcasing his potential to contribute there in the NFL.
Despite Smith’s impressive deep speed, he isn’t an elite athlete. He lacks explosion and needs time to build up speed on deep routes. At 6’1, 202, he isn’t a small receiver—but his size isn’t much of a boon to his draft stock either. Most notably, Smith had some issues with drops throughout his career. He showed improvement each season, but will need to continue his work there to become a more consistent player in the NFL.
UCF’s explosive offense was often able to scheme their receivers open, and Smith’s route running could use some refinement as a result. He also struggled to separate from press coverage at times, and needs development in the short passing game to become a more well-rounded player.
Smith is a versatile receiving option that should be able to come in an contribute as a WR3 for an NFL team from Day 1. His ability as a deep threat will be his calling card early on, but his insanely long arms and solid size give him considerable potential as a red zone threat. Smith has shown that he can be physical as a blocker and after the catch—if he can improve his drop issues and use that physicality more prominently in the short passing game, he can become a very well-rounded option with a WR2 ceiling.
With the Falcons almost certainly moving on from Taylor Gabriel this offseason, they need to bring in another WR that can stretch the field opposite Julio Jones. Smith can do many of the things Gabriel could—he offers you something as a deep threat and after the catch on screens, and has experience executing reverses and jet sweeps. While he isn’t as elite as Gabriel in terms of raw speed and agility, Smith offers a lot more in the red zone and can make difficult catches in traffic due to his superior size.
The main question for Atlanta isn’t if they are going to add another receiver, it’s when they are are willing to pull the trigger. Smith will likely demand a third round pick at the lowest—and after an impressive Senior Bowl performance, he’s unlikely to make it all the way to Atlanta. His athletic testing will also have a big impact on his draft stock. Smith could be in play if he falls further than expected, or if Atlanta trades back and secures additional picks in the early third round.
Grade: 2.5 (late second, early third)
What are your thoughts on the Falcons adding Tre’Quan Smith in the 2018 NFL Draft? Is the late second/early third round price tag too high for Atlanta to take a receiver? Who are some other players you like for the Falcons in the mid rounds?