Position: Offensive guard
Weight: 303 pounds
School: Auburn Tigers
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 5.22 seconds
Bench press: 35 reps (tied for fourth at 2018 Combine)
Vertical jump: 33.5 inches (tied for second among offensive linemen)
Broad jump: 9 feet, 5 inches (tied for third among offensive linemen)
20-yard shuttle: 4.77 seconds
Braden Smith 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Coming out of high school, Braden Smith was among the most highly coveted offensive line prospects in the nation. He excelled not only on the gridiron but as a track and field athlete as well, winning the Kansas state title in the shot put and discus. A top-50 recruit among all positions according to Rivals.com, Smith had scholarship offers from all the big-time programs, including both SEC schools from the state of Alabama. He was among the last of the highly touted prospects to give his pledge to a school, committing to Auburn the Thursday after national signing day.
It didn’t take long for Smith to see the field. As a true freshman, he played in all 13 games with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn even giving him reps at tight end a few times. Smith made his first start in the Outback Bowl that year, a narrow loss to Wisconsin. After that, he never looked back as he started every single game for the remainder of his Tiger career. Smith received second-team All-SEC recognition as a sophomore and made the first-team the following two seasons. A team captain as a senior, Smith was named a first-team All-American by the AP and CBS while also winning the SEC’s Jacob Blocking Trophy. When all was said and done, Smith made 53 appearances for the Tigers and his 41 straight starts were highest on the team.
- a physically imposing specimen who’s well-proportioned in upper and lower body;
- gets hands on defender quickly with good punch and placement;
- multitasker who can reach block at the line of scrimmage then jump into the second level;
- uncoils hips and churns feet to drive his blocking target back in run support;
- good combination of persistence, determination, and aggression in the trenches;
- holds his own and maintains base leverage against bull rush;
- immensely experienced, having started every game over the past three seasons;
- a weight room junkie who’ll set an example with off-field work ethic.
- short arms might inhibit versatility and keep him at guard;
- a bit slow out of his initial stance;
- has issues staying square when defenders try to counter;
- pad level gets a bit upright at times which takes away his leverage;
- is oftentimes a step off the pace when trap and pull blocking;
- finds himself on an island at times when blocking in the second level;
- can react slowly to delayed blitzes from second level defenders.
NFL Comparison: Joe Thuney
Teams With Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins
Projection: Late second to early third round
Smith played in every game during his four-year college career and started roughly three-fourths of them. That’s no small feat in the SEC which boasts its fair share of defensive maulers at the line of scrimmage. Though he’s a bit short-armed which will probably keep him inside, Smith otherwise boasts a prototypical NFL frame for the position. His upper and lower body strength also tested very highly at the Combine and he shows the ability to effectively utilize that power on tape. As a result, teams in need of a potential instant impact guard on day two of the draft will almost certainly have him on their radar.