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    [2022] NFLHC Draft Preview: Malik Smith, CB

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    Welcome to the first in a series of ? posts long. What I did was take the current draft eligible players and just gave them a number 1-465 (there are 465 players in the draft pre-Early Declarations). Then I had excel pick a random number and here we are. Malik Smith was # 359 and his number came up, how lucky. I'm not taking requests, I will do a few more and hopefully get those guys in the Mid-70s. I probably won't do anyone below 70 Overall. So, let's get into it.




    Player Profile:

    Name: Malik Smith

    Position: Cornerback

    Style: Zone Coverage

    CB Ranking (Based on Rating): 13

    Zone CB Ranking: 8

    Height: 6-1

    Weight: 168

    College: University of Louisiana - Lafayette

    High School: North Central

    Hometown: Lebeau, LA

    Player Line: CB Malik Smith 6-1 168 R Louisiana-Lafayette [Zone Coverage] 73


    Malik grew up in Lebeau, Louisiana and attended North Central High School. He was not highly recruited out of high school and decided to attend the University of Louisiana - Lafayette. He was content on just playing Intra-Mural and dominating. But, prior to the 2021 season, UL-L announced the formation of a football team for the 2021 season. Malik instantly tried out and was named #1 Cornerback. He's spend the entire (and his only season) as the #1 Cornerback. Mostly playing across from the opposing team's top Wide Receiver. He is more comfortable in the Zone, but was at times pushed into Man Coverage as the rest of the Corners on the team are more comfortable playing Man Coverage.



    Statsheets: 5

    Tackles: 9

    Interceptions: 6

    Passes Defended: 4


    His stats don't do him any favors. 9 Tackles total in 12 games is definitely concerning. He hasn't been willing to come up and help in the run game. He's a pure coverage Cornerback. His 6 Interceptions are nice, but then you see what teams he did those against. Troy, UMASS, Texas State, Arkansas State, ULM (2). Even though those aren't powerhouse teams, any time you can get a turnover from your Cornerback, you'll be happy. Averaging Half a Pick is not bad for a player in his first year of real football in 4 years. 4 Passes Defended are a little underwhelming. You'd like to see more, although he gets a bit of a pass playing in the Zone.


    Game Tape Analysis:


    We looked at every game and watched the #1 and #2 Wide Receivers battle against Smith. Very up and down season.


    Week 2: Georgia State

    Basically not even worth talking about. Georgia State threw less than 5 passes.


    Week 3: Georgia Tech

    Rough game. Smith didn't record any tackles, picks, or passes defended (we know the Top 4 players make the statsheet, but this is GT, they air it out). He got torched by Anthony Swanson, Swanson recorded 9 receptions for 102 yards and 2 Touchdowns. Swanson was all over the field and Smith had no answer. He was bullied by Swanson's size and was boxed out all game long.


    Week 6: Troy

    Better game for Smith. Smith was lined up against Kyle Laughlin and held him roughly in check. Laughlin recorded 2 receptions for 30 yards and 1 Touchdown. Giving up the touchdown isn't great, but this was Smith's first statsheet. He had a Tackle and an Interception.  The other Wide Receiver in this game went off however, Israel Carlos had 6 catches for 105 yards for 2 Touchdowns. But Smith wasn't lined up against him much. Definitely Smith's best performance at this point in the season.


    Week 9: South Alabama

    Smith didn't make the statsheet, but he pretty much shutdown Armos Fultz. Holding him to 30 yards on 2 catches. Smith was great in coverage this game and didn't give Fultz any space when they were on the same side of the field together.


    Week 14: Arkansas State

    Not such a great game for Smith. He did get a pick. But Artavius Hopkins zoomed past him constantly, racking up 96 yards on 6 receptions for 1 Touchdown. Smith was exposed routinely, his lack of athleticism was huge liability for the Cajuns.


    Week 16: ULM

    Smith got two picks this game. Not bad. But Stephen Britton had 9 catches for 106 yards with 1 Touchdown. Britton isn't that much bigger than Smith (190 vs 168 pounds), but was obviously stronger than Smith. Speed or Size tends to beat Smith.


    All season long, opposing Wide Receivers recorded 51 receptions for 646 yards with 9 Touchdowns against the Cajuns. This boils down to an average line of:

    4.25 - 53.83 - .75 Per Game.


    Those Wide Receivers Averaged:

    4.27 - 56.63 - .69 Per Game in games not against UL-L.


    He held these players to marginally worse performances than their standard game.




    He's generally pretty good against slower or smaller Wide Receivers. He is able to put up great performances, but he's inconsistent. He needs to stay in Zone Coverage to be the most effective. He does make good plays on the ball when he's in position.




    Speedy or Strong Receivers will both beat Smith currently. He doesn't have the body strength to break up passes or get in between the receiver and the ball. And he doesn't have the speed to hang with those really fast guys. He also finds himself out of position easily. He plays on instinct and his instinct hurt him often as a senior. He needs to learn to stay in position and let the game came to him instead of trying to make a play on every pass. Sometimes he just needs to get the tackle, and he's not doing that.


    Draft Outlook:


    Smith is definitely not ready to play Day 1. He's a guy who's going to have to be on the Practice Squad for at least two seasons. He should go in the Mid 5th at the highest. His Cap Hit won't be too high, and a team could put him on the PS for two seasons and see how he progresses. If he gets to the 77-79 Range, then he'd be a solid depth piece. But if he doesn't get higher than 74-75, then I'd say he's done.

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