Brad Smelley   TE/H-Back/WR   Alabama

TALENT BOARD

 Round 2


STRENGTHS

Brad is one of the best PASS BLOCKING tight ends/H-backs that I have seen in a long time playing at the college level.  He has excellent lateral agility and quick feet that allow him to mirror his opponent.  Brad can also catch a pass as easy as child starting school for the first time can catch a cold.  He has excellent hands to catch the ball down the field as well as sneaky speed and quickness to run routes and get separation.  This kid is an offensive coordinator's dream come true and will be a quarterback's best friend.  He is a smart kid and is versatile enough to play multiple positions in multiple formations and offensive systems. Brad works hard on every play and shows excellent mental toughness.  He has the athletic talent, speed and intelligence to play as a wide out, the pass blocking skills to play as a H-back and the pass catching tight end skills to be a mismatch in the slot.  He reminds me a lot of Aaron Hernandez (TE/WR Patriots).

 

CONCERNS

Brad must get stronger in his upper body and learn how to run routes better because he is not a very good run blocker at all.  This means as a H-back or TE, he is a liability for the next level and a situational player.  He needs to learn how to run routes from the wide receiver position and must learn the tricks of the trade to get deep on corners to become the total weapon on offense that I know he can become.  It might take a year or two, but Brad's work ethic and intelligence tell me all of this needed improvement will not be a problem.

 

BOTTOM LINE

I think Brad will develop into a pure wide receiver before it is all said and done.  The only thing that will hold him back is an offensive coordinator who feels they want to use Brad's natural pass blocking skills on third and long situations.  I think that will be a big mistake because his impact will be in catching passes and not in blocking. When I said he reminds me a lot of Aaron Hernandez, it was to say that if he is used the same way the Patriots use Aaron, Brad will be a big time star for the team that drafts him as well as becoming a fan favorite.  Right now, Alabama has him playing in packages and he is not on the field for every down.  This is because his run blocking is poor because he struggles with the techniques and lacks the upper body strength.  The NFL is using players like Brad because of their size, strength and intelligence at the wide receiver position more and more.  Brad will need some seasoning to bring out his wide receiving talents, but while he learns, you should be able to use him in the slot and inside the thirty yard line.  Right now, he runs all his routes at the same speed and I'm sure he is not knowledgeable of how to run every route on the WR route tree.  Drafting a player with Brad's developmental skills usually happens later in the draft; however, I think this kid is a Pro Bowl player waiting to happen for the right team that will develop him.

 

 The BS Detector 

 Drew Boylhart   DEC /11