NFL Draft weekend is always full of surprises, and on day three the Kansas City Chiefs came away with what could be the steal of the draft. Get to know Trey Smith, and why his style of play could make a huge impact on the Chiefs.
The summer of 2020 was interesting for several reasons. It was the summer before my last semester of college, and it also happened to be in the middle of a global pandemic. I also happened to be interning at a local county health department in rural northeast Missouri. Let’s just say free time was not something I had an abundance of, but as usual, I did find a way to incorporate watching football into my life, specifically offensive line play.
I had heard that the 2021 NFL offensive line draft class might end up being one of the best and deepest classes of all time. That turned out to nearly be an understatement for how talented that class ended up being. The tackles of the class specifically were getting a ton of attention, but it was a guard who first caught my eye. A nasty, physically dominating monster who played the game with an attitude. You better believe I was eager to share my findings with the Kingdom.
The power, and his base in pass protection caught my attention early on. His posture was outstanding, and he seemed to make it look effortless. The power in his hands was even more impressive, he played like they were made of stone.
After watching the clip below it became apparent he also had the football IQ to excel at the pro level.
As entertaining as it was to watch Smith dominate the competition and as much fun as I scouting him I figured there was a very low chance that the Kansas City Chiefs would be able to draft him. There were questions about his health, but it had been reported prior to the draft multiple times that Smith was healthy and ready to play in the NFL. This influenced my draft analysis on him in the 2021 Arrowhead Live Draft Scouting Log.
I gave Smith a great grade and even had him graded as my second highest guard in the draft, but I just didn’t see the fall he would have come draft day.
I had Smith ranked as a solid second-round draft pick, but the concerns from his past medical issues caused him to fall all the way to the 6th round. This is where Brett Veach and Andy Reid decided to take a shot on a player with all the upside in the world.
The Chiefs took Smith with the 226th pick of the draft, which is as a low-risk high reward of a pick as there can be, especially given the level of play they could get out of him.
The first thing that stands out in his film is the overwhelming physical, nasty style of play he plays the game with. He wants to inflict damage to his opponents, and he wants to send a message with every big block he has. If a team was trying to design a guard in a lab, Smith would be the finished product in nearly every facet of his game.
Despite his size and power he is very mobile and excels at pulling. He has good mechanics on his skip pull, and he has a great understanding of when to dip a little bit to get the defensive end moved out of the way.
Zone has been a staple of Andy Reid’s run scheme for years, but this past year was by far the worst the Chiefs have looked running it since his time as head coach. Smith should help improve upon this vastly. He has the natural build of a dominating run blocker, and his pistons for legs help him get into the ground and move players off of a spot. His first step is generally good, he gets on the right angle, and he stays square. He can work in combination as either the leadman or the trail man.
His run blocking is impressive, but his pass protection is where he is going to make his money in Kansas City. For the past three seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs have struggled to find consistency along the interior of their offensive line. Smith is going to bring not only consistency to the game, but also an unwavering ability to finish plays at all costs.
It seemed when the Chiefs drafted center Creed Humphrey in the 2nd round of the draft that the offensive line overhaul was complete. Then the unexpected happened. Adding Smith to the team was both a win-now move and a win in the future move. It’s a move that costs the team very little in the end.
If Smith doesn’t pan out, it won’t be the end of the world. Not many sixth-round draft picks pan out, or have long careers in the NFL.
If Smith does pan out, then it ensures that the Kansas City Chiefs have secured another player who will be on the team long term, and one that has the potential to be one of the best to do it. He can pave holes for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but most importantly he can help create a wall upfront to keep Patrick Mahomes safe.
Smith has overcome tremendous adversity in his life, and through the course of the draft, he had to overcome even more. From being projected as a borderline day one player to falling to the end of day three. That can be tough for any player. Everything happens for a reason, and it seems like Smith will be entering Kansas City at the time when the Chiefs need him the most. He plays the game violently and has a chip on his shoulder. It is going to be exciting to see what he can become as a member of the Chiefs.