While the Las Vegas Raiders have been playing impressively on offense, it’s their play in the trenches that has been key. However, their offensive line has been decimated by injuries in 2020. Should they target an offensive lineman next year?
Why would the Raiders target Trey Smith?
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports believes that the Raiders should go ‘O-Line’ at next year’s NFL Draft. In particular, Trapasso recently stated that Trey Smith by way of the University of Tennessee could be the pick in his latest mock draft.
This isn’t such a far-fetched scenario, all things considered. Most fans and media personalities will point to pass rush as the team’s biggest need. There’s definitely an argument to be made there, however, it all starts with the offensive line. Who better to coach a promising prospect such as Smith than offensive line coach Tom Cable who has done a masterful job this year.
But what about Smith the player? What could he bring to the Raiders if they were to pull the trigger next April? According to Trapasso, they’d be getting a guard that can be a plug-and-play starter with NFL strength. Standing at 6’6″ and weighing in at 330 pounds, Smith could be a starter from Day One or sit behind Gabe Jackson. Another factor which would determine if Smith will be on the Raiders’ radar will be Richie Incognito.
What do the experts say about Smith?
We’ve seen what Trapasso said, but Joe Marino of the Draft Network went a bit further in regards to Smith.
“Dominant as a drive blocker and he has terrific power at the point of attack. Does well to leverage his hips, fit his hands, accelerate his feet and create movement in the run game.”
One note in his assessment that should excite Raider Nation is Smith’s talents in the run game. That aspect of the Raiders’ offense has really taken off in 2020 behind Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker. Everyone knows quarterback Derek Carr is the leader of this offense but investing long-term in the run game will only help Carr.
“Love his punch in pass protection – it is well placed, timed, and often stuns opponents. His quick sets are tremendous due to his length, anchor, and timing. Blocks with an edge and maulers mentality, showcasing the desire to put defenders on their back.”
Speaking of Carr, Smith’s strengths don’t just lie in creating movement for the run game. Marino points out that he loves his punch in pass protection and has a true maulers mentality.
It already sounds like he’ll fit right in alongside Rodney Hudson and Kolton Miller in the imposing offensive line. The offensive line was foregone in last April’s draft, other than guard John Simpson, it will have to be a different story next year.
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