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    Donovan Smith Draft Profile | Houston, QB Scouting Report

    First-year Houston Cougars starting QB Donovan Smith has all of the tools needed to be a star -- find out more in his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report.

    The Houston Cougars snagged one of the best quarterbacks in the transfer portal this past offseason, replacing Clayton Tune with Donovan Smith. Smith has the tools to become a factor in the 2024 NFL Draft — what does his scouting report detail about his NFL projection?

    Donovan Smith Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 6’5″
    • Weight: 241
    • Position: Quarterback
    • School: Houston
    • Current Year: Junior

    Even with 23 games under his belt over two seasons at Texas Tech, Smith still has eligibility for 2024. Smith completed 64.3% of his passes while averaging 7.4 yards per attempt, totaling 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a Red Raider. He added 270 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

    Donovan Smith Scouting Report


    • Has a huge frame that allows him to withstand hits in the pocket and fight through contact as a rusher.
    • Effortless passing motion that features a quick release and good arm flexibility that allows him to utilize various release points.
    • Generates good velocity on short and intermediate passes without much core and lower body torque.
    • Rhythmic passer who is comfortable leading a long drive.
    • Fast-reacting and will attack closing passing windows. He has the eyes and the arm to take advantage of gaps in zone coverage.
    • Has more mobility and foot quickness in the pocket than expected considering his huge stature.


    • Despite playing in 23 games, Smith is relatively inexperienced — only 361 passing attempts.
    • Can be goaded into taking a plethora of short passes that don’t make an impact. Threw eight interceptions in 2022 because he was too predictable as a passer.
    • Get stuck on his first read too often and trusts his arm to beat defenders when the leverage isn’t there. He should chase more explosive plays more often, especially when his primary read isn’t clearly open.
    • Knows he has the arm talent to quickly whip passes out from a muddy pocket so he stands completely still until he sees a free rusher. He could do a better job of staying bouncy and ready to escape.
    • Deep passing touch and accuracy are inconsistent, likely stemming from over-reliance on his arm talent. This goes back to needing more of a foundational base.
    • He’s capable of running but not a big threat or someone looking to run. Averages only two yards a carry.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    Undersized quarterbacks like Tune and Case Keenum have thrived in Dana Holgorsen’s offense, so it’s especially exciting to think of what Smith will do. Smith is a physically imposing threat at the position, offering one of the strongest arms in the country and a quick release that punishes defenses. But the rest of his game is not refined yet.

    MORE: Top QBs in the 2024 NFL Draft

    More experience in an offense that has a good set of blockers in front of him could help raise Smith’s game. A couple of mechanical issues with his lower body need to be addressed before he maximizes his impressive physical tools. The 2023 season could be a massive hit if his mental sharpness improves in a better scheme and with more reps.

    It’s important to remember that Smith does not have to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft — he is eligible to play in 2024 as well. A big leap in growth could push Smith into this year’s draft, though, as his skill set and best plays project to the NFL nicely.

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