Cam Smith, CB, #9, Las Vegas Raiders Prospect (Photo via Getty Images)

NFL Draft: Can Cam Smith Become the Raiders’ CB1 in 23′?

When it comes to cornerback play, the Las Vegas Raiders are in desperate need of more talent at the position. While Nate Hobbs has displayed positive flashes at times, he has yet to show consistent production as a boundary corner. In addition, the team’s best cornerback last year, Rock Ya-Sin, is set to become an unrestricted free agent next month. After the two mainstays is cornerback Tyler Hall who showed promise in his first season with the Raiders as the team’s nickel corner; however, after those three – the position leaves much to be desired regarding individuals who can match up with ‘X’ and ‘Z’ receivers (outside). With a strong cornerback pool in the 2023 NFL Draft, the team may have a plug-and-play starter in South Carolina’s Cam Smith.

Cam Smith’s Background

Smith graduated from Westwood High School in Blythewood, South Carolina, and participated in NBC’s All-American Bowl. As a football player, he was ranked second-best in the Palmetto State. In addition, he was the 19th overall-ranked cornerback in the country. During four years at the University of South Carolina, he appeared in 33 total games, starting in 19. Additionally, he accounted for 24 total PBU’s in addition to his six career interceptions.

As a junior in 2021, he earned All-Second Team SEC Honors from the Associated Press and Pro Football Focus. However, he did not reach those honors again in his senior season because teams only threw his way 38 times. The bottom line is that he was targeted 94 times in his collegiate career, and 30 of those times, the passes were either intercepted or broken up.

Cam Smith is an Elite Athlete

As a six-foot tall, 190-pound cornerback, Smith uses his great physical frame to his advantage in press coverage. With good arm length, outstanding footwork, change of direction, and agility – he can make opposing wide receivers’ days incredibly long, especially in press-man coverage.

As you can see above, Cam displays excellent patience at the line of scrimmage. In addition, he is a highly physical player who is more than willing to put his hands on opposing receivers no matter where they are in the timing of the route, especially at the point of attack.

Surely enough, he is an aggressive player who is more than capable of succeeding in press-man coverage or off coverage, thanks to his long speed. Moreover, his ball skills are what separates him from many other cornerbacks.

Smith Plays the Football First

Every cornerback wants to make the big play; after all, Hall of Famer ‘Primetime’ Deion Sanders was one of the best in making interception returns for a touchdown. For the South Carolina native, he is comfortable with not making the highlight reel play every time. He consistently tries to break up the pass rather than trying to be a hero.

This is also the case in run support, as he is more than willing to get his jersey dirty to bring down opposing ball carriers in the rushing attack or the open field.

The bottom line is that Smith is a top prospect because he is the total package. But, to clarify, he is a student of the game. His above-average mental processing is partly thanks to his rigid film preparation process and looking up to one of the NFL’s best lockdown cornerbacks from his alma mater.

Cam Smith Could Become an Instant Raiders Starter

In conclusion, not much remains to be desired in the South Carolina Gamecocks’ game. He is the total package who will also thrive in zone coverage due to his high football I.Q. For the Las Vegas Raiders, he could be the boundary corner they have been searching for years. The sky is the limit for Cam Smith, and the Silver and Black would be in good hands selecting him. Keep updated with other NFL Draft content from the Raider Ramble in the link below.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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