Heading out of his third year as a full-time starter, Virginia Tech OG Lecitus Smith has blossomed as a legitimate 2022 NFL Draft prospect. With that in mind, does Smith have the scouting report necessary to potentially earn a starting role at the next level? Let’s take a closer look.
Lecitus Smith NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Guard
- School: Virginia Tech
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’3 1/8″
- Weight: 321 pounds
- Wingspan: 79 1/4″
- Length: 32 1/8″
- Hand: 9 5/8″
Lecitus Smith Scouting Report
Smith has his own cooking page on YouTube, but the Virginia Tech OG cooks some of his best stuff on the football field. The Hokies’ stalwart has commanded All-ACC recognition for two straight years now, and he enters 2021 as one of the best guards in the nation.
Just as he dishes up delectable meals for his subscribers, Smith also dishes up devastating blocks for unsuspecting defenders. The best moments on Smith’s tape are inspiring, but it’s time to dive in deeper. What does Smith do well, where can he improve, and what might his career projection look like?
Lecitus Smith’s athletic profile
Athleticism isn’t a deal-breaker for interior linemen, but those who have it certainly have an edge. Smith has that edge.
The Virginia Tech OG stands at 6’3″, 321 pounds, and carries his weight well. He possesses good burst and power at the point of attack, and glimpses of explosive twitch show up in open space. In addition to his steady acceleration, Smith also flashes exceptional lateral mobility. He can traverse gaps and block on the move with ease, providing value as a pulling guard.
In a phone booth, Smith’s athleticism shows up in different ways. The Virginia Tech OG has a degree of torso flexibility and absorption capacity, even with his stout frame. His strong base helps him cushion and absorb opposing power. Additionally, he’s able to gather himself after initial losses with his natural balance, strength, and contortion potential.
Among other things, Smith flashes impressive weight-transfer ability, and he shows off plenty of synergy between his upper and lower body. Furthermore, Smith has good stamina. His play doesn’t noticeably falter as games go on, and some of his strongest reps occur later.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Being 6’3″, 321 pounds, you’d likely expect Smith to fill a power-blocker mold. Smith is more versatile than that, but he does bring one important element commonly seen in power blockers — aggression.
Smith is an aggressive competitor who consistently blocks all the way to the final whistle. He has the urgency to stack blocks when moving to the second level, and he finishes smaller opponents with relative ease. When Smith latches on, he can impose his power en masse, and he has the mauler mentality to send defenders into the dirt.
Of course, aggression can turn into recklessness without proper respect for the fundamentals. The Virginia Tech OG clearly understands this. Operationally, he’s strong as well. Smith keeps a wide base in pass protection, and this helps him maintain his balance.
Additionally, Smith’s hands stay active and amped up when awaiting opposing rushers. He can extend with extraordinary quickness, and he’s able to reset his hands and get under his opponent’s pads.
Going further, Smith has impressive leg drive. That leg drive, along with his grip strength, allows him to anchor and drive off defenders in motion. Smith also keeps his shoulders square toward his targets, and he has the awareness to pick up blitzes and stunts.
Areas for improvement
There’s a lot to like with Smith’s scouting report, both athletically and operationally. The Virginia Tech OG appears to have the makings of a future NFL starter. Having said this, there are some mitigating factors regarding his upside, most notably his length.
Smith’s length is not a strong part of his profile. It’s not necessarily a liability, but some linemen will outreach him on the interior. He doesn’t always reach the contact point first, and because of this, Smith sometimes tries to force the issue by leaning.
Additionally, Smith’s lacking reach sometimes prevents him from finishing defenders or paving open lanes. It also impedes Smith’s ability to maintain anchors. Longer rushers can manipulate angles more easily against Smith’s wingspan, and his lacking length limits the amount of power his hands can carry as conduits.
Length is easily the biggest issue for Smith, but there are other inconsistencies to take note of as well. Smith sometimes prematurely extends his arms, negating potential energy. He can be more consistent keeping his elbows in, maximizing that energy, and increasing the amount of force directed at defenders. His hands don’t always strike cleanly when blocking in motion, and players who can get outside his frame can knock him off-balance.
Finally, Smith can indulge his frame more when working to get lower than opponents. His footwork post-contact can also be more consistent. His weight transfers, while solid, aren’t always smooth.
Lecitus Smith’s NFL Draft scouting report overview
Length is a definite concern for Smith, and that may slightly limit his upside at the NFL level. Having said this, length isn’t quite as important for guards as it is for tackles. Even with his average length, Smith still has a number of appealing traits inside. He’s strong, naturally well-leveraged, and aggressive. Furthermore, Smith is athletic enough to make blocks on the move.
Smith is powerful enough to be coveted by teams with power-oriented schemes, but he’s an impressive athlete for his frame. He possesses the width and burl of a power blocker but the mobility and urgency to provide value in zone concepts.
To tie it all together, Smith’s mauler mentality ensures that he finishes plays from start to finish. Overall, Smith is a strong prospect, and he can easily go on Day 2 in April.
Lecitus Smith’s Player Profile
Being 320 pounds, Smith exudes maximum “offensive lineman” energy. He’s your traditional big, nasty blocker on the interior, but it wasn’t always that way. In high school, in addition to his blocking duties, Smith was a tight end. He was listed around 6’3″, 253 pounds, and in his senior season, he caught 7 passes for 132 yards and 2 scores.
Smith’s future at tight end would be short-lived, however. Teams preferred Smith as an offensive lineman, and his athletic testing numbers — a 5.26 40-yard dash and a 26.3-inch vertical jump — aligned more with that designation. Teams like Arkansas, NC State, and Oklahoma State offered the three-star recruit a chance to sign on, but the Fitzgerald, Georgia product ultimately chose Virginia Tech.
Lecitus Smith’s career at Virginia Tech and NFL Draft ascension
When he arrived at Virginia Tech, Smith was still going through his transition from tight end to offensive lineman. Listed at 6’3″, 276 pounds upon the start of the 2017 season, Smith redshirted — intent on readying himself for his first opportunity in 2018.
In 2018, Smith came back as a new player at a new position. He was 313 pounds — 60 pounds heavier than his high school days. And quickly, he accrued experience in his new role. Smith played 11 games in 2018, starting four, and he would leverage that experience into a starting job the following year.
Heading into 2021, Smith had started 23 straight games at left guard. He was an All-ACC honorable mention selection in 2019 and 2020, and he repeated that production in 2021. Now, Smith is on to the NFL Draft. He’ll have to distinguish himself at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. But he can be a potential starter with his traits.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Lecitus Smith
Positives: Large, strong offensive lineman who blocks with a nasty attitude. Starts with excellent knee bend and pad level, gets leverage on opponents, and fires off the snap into blocks. Explosive, knocks defenders back off the ball, and works to finish off opponents. Stays square, anchors in pass protection, and gets movement run blocking. Keeps his head on a swivel and always looks for someone to hit.
Negatives: Lacks footwork in space. Can’t pull across the line of scrimmage or get out in front to finish blocks. Struggles against nimble or agile defenders.
Analysis: Smith is a true power-gap lineman with an underrated game. He lacks scheme versatility, yet Smith can start on Sundays in the proper system.