Multiple small-school prospects in a deep offensive tackle class could hear their name called in Cleveland. Like North Dakota State’s Dillon Radunz, some are well known, with early to mid-round potential. Others, like Kion Smith, are receiving less attention in this 2021 NFL Draft process. Following a series of impressive performances on the All-Star game circuit, can the Fayetteville State offensive tackle sneak into the backend of the draft?
Kion Smith NFL Draft Player Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Fayetteville State
- Current Year: Redshirt-Senior
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 290 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Kion Smith Scouting Report
Positives: Small-school college left tackle who projects to guard in the NFL. Blocks with proper lean, keeps his head on a swivel, and plays with a nasty attitude. Sets with a wide base, bends his knees, and effectively places his hands into opponents. Fluid pulling across the line of scrimmage, quick out to the second level, and effective blocking in motion.
Patient in pass protection and makes good use of angles as well as body positioning to seal defenders from plays. Knocks pass rushers from their angles of attack with violent hand punch. Shows power as a run blocker and drives opponents off the line and deep into the backfield. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looks for someone to hit. Works to finish off the play and hits multiple defenders on a single snap.
Negatives: Must do a better job finishing blocks. Lacks fluid footwork off the edge and isn’t a great pass protector. Struggles adjusting.
Analysis: Smith was a solid small-school left tackle who has the skill set to project as a power-gap guard in the NFL. He must physically mature and learn to finish off opponents, but he’s a developmental prospect who could begin his NFL career as a backup.
Kion Smith Player Profile
Smith will have to beat substantial odds to be selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, the Fayetteville State offensive tackle is no stranger to overcoming adversity in his football journey. A standout at Lumberton High School in North Carolina, he received his first college offer from North Carolina A&T during his junior season.
Although there was interest from several colleges, an injury suffered before his senior season would provide the first hurdle on the path to the NFL Draft. Forced to miss a significant amount of time, interest, and offers to play college football disappeared. Smith went unranked and national signing day passed. As the next school year loomed without sign of an offer, a savior came to his doorstep.
Weeks before the 2016 school year, Smith received an offer to play offensive tackle for Fayetteville State.
Smith’s college football career at Fayetteville State
Despite coming in at a late stage, he impressed enough to earn a start in his first game. He became a permanent fixture on the Broncos offensive line, starting every game of his freshman season. He extended his starting streak as a sophomore, despite a shoulder injury sustained prior to the start of the year.
Having played through the pain in 2017, his shoulder would cause another career obstacle. The injury required surgery, and between the procedure and subsequent recovery period, Smith missed his entire junior season.
Further displaying the tenacity to overcome adversity, once he was healthy, he began to train harder to return stronger, bulkier, and faster.
The results were spectacular. Previously lacking the requisite size to play offensive tackle in the NFL at 270 pounds, Smith bulked up to 290 pounds for his redshirt-junior season. He earned first-team All-CIAA honors as part of one of the best offensive lines in Division II football.
With the uncertainty of the 2020 college football season, Smith opted to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. He earned invites to multiple All-Star games, including the Hula Bowl and Tropical Bowl, where, despite being one of the lesser-known prospects, he impressed during practices.
Kion Smith’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Smith projects to be a late-round 2021 prospect at best. If he doesn’t sneak into the backend of the seventh-round, the Fayetteville State offensive tackle should land on a roster as an undrafted free agent. He best fits on a team that operates an outside-zone scheme. Despite seeing himself as a tackle at the next level, as Pauline alludes to in his scouting report, he is likely to shift inside in the NFL.
Thankfully for Smith, he demonstrated his ability to play both left and right guard at the Hula Bowl and Tropical Bowl.
Some team and need fits include the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, and Chicago Bears.
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