Tyreke Smith, Ohio State DE | NFL Draft Scouting Report

In recent years, Ohio State has become a pipeline for sending defensive ends to the NFL. Can Tyreke Smith add his name to an illustrious list in the 2022 NFL Draft? Although he isn’t a name currently grouped with the top players at the position ahead of the upcoming college football season, Smith’s scouting report reveals that the Ohio State DE has the athletic potential to be a coveted prospect next April.

Tyreke Smith NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Defensive End
  • School: Ohio State
  • Current Year: Senior
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 260 pounds

Tyreke Smith Scouting Report

As a physical specimen, Smith is extremely impressive. The 6’3″, 260-pound pass rusher is exceptionally athletic. He possesses delightful change of direction ability, remarkable lateral agility, and excellent play speed. The Ohio State DE can often combine these attributes to breeze past opposing offensive linemen with what looks to be relative ease.

As a pass rusher, Smith converts speed to power exceptionally well. Although he has a few weapons in his pass-rush armory, he leans on his ability to overwhelm tackles with his strength. Smith appears to have respectable length for the position, which again helps from a pass-rush perspective. The Buckeye also demonstrates the ability to be disruptive as a pass rusher from both sides of the formation.

With athleticism, strength, and length, Smith can be a potent pass-rush force around the outside track and attacking from the interior.

Furthermore, his athleticism enables him to efficiently drop back from the line of scrimmage and into coverage. He can backpedal with some impressive fluidity. That element of versatility will prove valuable at the next level.

Areas for improvement

There’s no denying that Smith has the physical attributes to continue the Ohio State DE reputation in the NFL Draft. However, he is far from a complete prospect, with some areas of his game requiring significant attention if he is to make the leap to the NFL.

Smith will need to display more impressive football intelligence this fall to elevate his 2022 NFL Draft stock. He had some issues anticipating the snap in the games studied, with the bout against Clemson a glaring example. Although he improved as the game progressed, he was routinely the last defensive lineman to react to the snap.

The Ohio State DE will need to turn pressure into production better this coming season. Although sometimes a by-product of the offensive scheme faced, Smith needs to ensure he works on timing and his pass-rush plan to significantly impact the opposition next fall. He can achieve this with more consistent use of the weapons that are in his toolbox.

Tyreke Smith’s Player Profile

Smith may not be a highly coveted NFL Draft prospect right now, but he’s only a few years removed from being a highly sought-after high school recruit. A four-star defensive end by 247 Sports, Smith was the fourth-ranked player at the position in the 2018 class while featuring in the top-50 prospects that year. As a result, he was in high demand, entertaining over 35 offers following an initial bid from the in-state Ohio Bobcats.

Having attended an Ohio State camp in 2016, the Buckeyes were always a front runner to capture the young defensive end. Yet, heading into his senior campaign, Smith remained uncommitted — well, publicly anyway.

As revealed in an article from The Athletic, he had quietly committed to Penn State in August 2017. Having experienced institutionalized racism first-hand, the African-American coaching staff of the Nittany Lions offered a welcoming environment that also struck a chord with the rest of the Smith family.

Impressive senior season comes before a difficult decision

Meanwhile, Smith embarked on a dominant senior season for Cleveland Heights, earning the Cleveland.com Defensive Player of the Year Award. Flashing his incredible athletic ability, he amassed 70 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks while snagging 8 receptions for 192 yards and 4 touchdowns. An accomplished all-around athlete, Smith was the leading scorer for the basketball team.

Following the conclusion of his senior season, Smith was faced with a difficult decision. Turning his back on his commitment to Penn State, he headed across the Big Ten to the Buckeyes. The newest Ohio State DE pointed to the program’s heritage at the position when announcing his commitment.

“Ohio State, coach [Urban] Meyer, and coach [Larry] Johnson are great people,” he told 247 Sports. “It’s my home state, a great school, and coach Johnson has developed great linemen like Nick Bosa.”

Smith’s career at Ohio State

Despite Smith’s impressive high school performances, one of the alluring aspects of the Buckeyes ensured he had a slow start to his career. Entering an Ohio State DE rotation stacked with talent, he had little opportunity to make a significant impact. As a true freshman in 2018, Smith saw action in 11 games. Still, he logged just 9 tackles that included a career-high 3 tackles against Tulane.

Smith’s sophomore season was beset with injuries. A groin issue meant he missed the season opener and several more games in September. Despite the injury setback, the Ohio State DE steadily began to assert himself on the Buckeyes’ opponents. He secured his first sack against Cincinnati while registering multiple more against Maryland. The sophomore defensive lineman finished the season with 12 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and a pair of pass breakups.

Lacking the prolific production to matchup to the NFL potential

With Chase Young’s departure to the NFL, Smith’s opportunities increased in the shortened 2020 college football season. Against Rutgers and Michigan State, he equaled his career-high single-game tackle numbers.

The Ohio State DE was impactful in the College Football Playoffs semifinal win over Clemson with a pass breakup. Yet, he only ended the year with 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. Nevertheless, he did tie for the team lead with 33 QB pressures.

Smith’s opportunity to add to that figure in the national championship was denied due to his enforced isolation. Although he’d miss the final game of the season, it wouldn’t be the last of his Buckeyes’ career.

The Ohio State DE announced his return for the upcoming college football season. In doing so, Smith has the distinct possibility of elevating his NFL Draft stock. The athletic pass rusher has all the physical attributes to become an impressive NFL player. If Smith can put it all together this season, he could be in contention for an early-round selection.

 

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter @ojhodgkinson.

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