Abram Smith Scouting Report: Fantasy analysis on the 2022 NFL Draft prospect

As fantasy managers watch the NFL Draft, what does Abram Smith's scouting report say, and which teams could be potential landing spots?

As one NFL season ends, the next is set to begin with the NFL Draft on the horizon. In our latest installment of scouting reports to help guide your fantasy football team, we look at Baylor RB Abram Smith. What are Smith’s strengths and weaknesses, which teams could be potential landing spots for him in the NFL Draft, and what is his fantasy outlook?

Abram Smith NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: RB
  • School: Baylor
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height: 5’11 3/8″
  • Weight: 211 pounds
  • Wingspan: 72 2/4″
  • Arm: 29 7/8″
  • Hand: 7 5/8″

Abram Smith’s fantasy football scouting report

Consistency is the name of the game. Were you good, and were you good for multiple years? That’s a question asked all the time internally by NFL teams and by fantasy managers sitting on their couch waiting to go on the clock for their next pick. This is also what makes Smith so intriguing.

Smith is the definition of a one-hit-wonder, and I mean Chumbawamba levels. Smith redshirted in 2017 after coming to Baylor as a running back from Abilene. After recording 46 touches in his first three years, Smith moved to linebacker in 2020, where he had four starts. Then, the 2021 season rolls around, and Smith heads to the backfield once again, this time to light the Big 12 on fire and rewrite the history books.

Smith’s impressive 2021 campaign

On the season, Smith tallied 257 carries for 1,601 yards and 12 touchdowns, setting a new Baylor single-season record. In 2021, Smith went over 100 yards in nine games, including a 188-yard contest on 27 carries against a ranked BYU team and 172 yards in the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss.

Of his 257 carries, 79 were for first downs (30.7%), leading the Big 12 in rushing. At the Senior Bowl, he was voted the best RB on the National Team by the linebackers on the American Team.

Smith checks several boxes. He’s a patient runner who demonstrated solid between-the-tackles vision and was at his best in a zone scheme. That is what the majority of one-cut style rushers prefer.

Smith also did a solid job breaking tackles or fighting through contact. If someone is able to play linebacker in college, odds are they know how to give and take a hit.

Smith is at his best when decisive and violent

Smith is at his best when he gets his foot in the ground, reads the hole, and bursts through, finishing with power and violence. When he does this, you rarely (if at all), see him moving backward. He drives the pile or his defender forwards for additional yards. That’s what makes coaches love you — a willingness to get nasty.

Smith is one of those rushers who you know carried the ball without watching because you hear the pop of the pads over the crowd noise. He isn’t a fancy rusher. In fact, he graded out at an NFL average level on both between-the-tackles and open-field agility. Yet, if I had to pick between the two, give me the player who will fight for yards over the one trying to dance for them all day long. They’re going to be the ones on the field on offense.

Passing utilization and explosiveness is a concern

The concerns for me are twofold. For one, Smith is not someone who will get the edge. Sure, he sometimes could in college, but when you have these ridiculous athletes playing LB as we do now in the NFL, Smith should never be going East and West. He won’t wow us with his speed at the NFL Combine, nor will he pull away for homerun touchdowns at the next level.

My second concern is Smith’s lack of passing utilization. I am by no means saying he can’t catch the ball. Every single running back can catch a ball. However, there’s a distinct difference between a “pass catcher” and a “pass-catching weapon.”

In 2021, Smith had just 13 receptions. He recorded a 20-yard receiving TD on a screen pass from Kenny Pickett in the Senior Bowl, but the closest defender didn’t make contact until the 2-yard line. So, I’m hesitant to say Smith showed anything new on the play.

Can an RB run more than just a screen? Can they be used in motion or line up in the slot to get a mismatch on a linebacker? Austin Ekeler, Najee Harris, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey — those are weapons in the passing game. In fantasy/dynasty, opportunities in the passing game are critical to high-end fantasy production. Unless you are one of the best rushers on the planet, like Derrick Henry or Nick Chubb, passing utilization is critical for high-end upside. Smith doesn’t qualify for either.

He has a two-down back skill set worth watching

Smith has the skills to be a very effective two-down back in the NFL. If drafted into an inside-zone scheme, I feel he could be a consistent contributor for an offense. It’s what offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes installed at Baylor. I’d almost guarantee Smith makes the 53-man roster just because he played LB before and would have special-teams value. That gives him a chance right out of the gate.

Assuming draft capital and landing spot match, Smith makes sense in the third round of rookie drafts where I’m taking shots on athletic profiles and scheme fits. While not likely to be a Day 1 starter, Smith has the skills to work into a committee role on early downs. From that point on, he simply needs to maximize the opportunities given to him.

Potential landing spots for Smith

With the NFL Draft closing in, which teams make the most sense for Smith as projected landing spots? Based on his scouting report, fantasy managers should keep their eye on these franchises come draft day.

Houston Texans

It’s hard to beat home cooking, so why not keep the Texas kid where the stars at night are big and bright? Houston needs help in the backfield and, well, everywhere else.

Whether it’s Deshaun Watson, Davis Mills, or someone else at QB, a reliable rushing game is critical for offensive balance. After a season of David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, and Rex Burkhead, only Burkhead remains on the roster.

Given Burkhead’s capabilities in the receiving game as a jack-of-all-trades RB, Smith can be the power in a 1-2 punch. The Texans would undoubtedly bring in other guys, but there isn’t another room more wide open for an RB to step in and take over than in Houston.

Philadelphia Eagles

At this point, the Eagles are committed to the committee approach. They are also committed to rushing the ball. From Week 9 on, no team in the NFL ran more than Philly at 58%. The league average was 43% over this time. It got them to a playoff berth, so why change things up?

Jordan Howard and Boston Scott are set to become free agents, leaving Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell. The issue here is they are similar backs. They’re fast, shifty rushers who are comfortable in the passing game but are a touch small for short-area runs.

This is why the Eagles had Howard on the roster. To me, Smith would be a logical fill-in for this role. However, it would be less than ideal for fantasy since it was an annoying committee last season. But from an NFL standpoint, it makes far too much sense assuming the continued emphasis on rushing early and often.

Kansas City Chiefs

Like him or not, Clyde Edwards-Helaire has not lived up to his first-round billing. It was a mistake for the Chiefs to take him in Round 1, and the fantasy community over-corrected for the landing spot.

It happens. While staying healthy has been an issue in his two years, the biggest problem is CEH’s inability to punch it in on goal-to-go situations. The Chiefs basically stopped even trying, electing to use other running backs or running the motion pop-pass to Travis Kelce as a de-facto run.

Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon are both set to become free agents, and it seems unlikely that Kansas City will bring both back. In fact, they may lose both.

The Chiefs are 21st in projected 2022 cap space, so selecting an RB like Smith would be a far more economical way to bolster the depth chart. He won’t receive the same bump in rankings as CEH did, but the landing spot makes a ton of sense.

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