Today we take a look at running back Michael Smith, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' first seventh-round pick.
A chiseled 5-8, 207-pound running back who exhibits a massive upper body with good overall muscle tone and girth through his lower half. He played behind a talented runner in Robert Turbin at Utah State this past year, but was extremely productive with limited touches, averaging over 7.0 yards per carry.
He's a powerfully built kid who runs low to the ground, displays good short areas quickness and has a burst when asked to get up the field. He looks explosive pressing space and accelerating toward daylight, could be a nice late round value.
Impression: An overlooked senior because of a talented runner in front of him, but has an NFL skill set and should make a roster.
Positives: While shorter than ideal, possesses a thick, well-poportioned frame. Excellent timed speed and has some lateral agility to elude defenders. Possesses natural hands out of the backfield, demonstrating the body control to handle poorly thrown passes and quickly secure the ball before getting upfield. Experienced kick returner with the speed to have a chance at remaining in this role in the NFL. Used as part of a rotation at Utah State and therefore comes to the NFL with relatively fresh legs. Performed well when given the opportunity to be "the guy." Named the MVP of his final game at Utah State (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl), as well as the Players All-Star Classic and demonstrated eye-popping speed during his Pro
Day workout after not being invited to the Combine... Negatives: Not quite the sum of his parts. Doesn't run as well on the field as his timed speed would suggest. Appears to have limited vision. Will run up the back of his linemen and can get too cute trying to elude defenders in the open field and fail to get yardage available to him... Missed much of the 2010 season with an injury to his right foot (big toe)... Used a change of pace option behind Robert Turbin and projects best in a similar role in the NFL. --Rob Rang
A back with exceptional upper-body strength, Smith made a living coming off the bench to spell Robert Turbin at Utah State. NFL.com's Chad Reuter spoke of Smith's outstanding pro day -- he timed at 4.33 in the 40-yard dash with a 40 1/2-inch vertical jump -- as part of an argument for Smith finding a home in the fourth or fifth round. Smith is overlooked because his touches were reduced as a senior, but he averaged more than seven yards per carry over his career. Smith possesses exceptional burst and exploded in December's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, with 157 yards on 12 carries, two for scores. (Are you telling us you didn't watch the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl? Priorities, people.)
What he brings: He can improve his vision, but has some serious juice and an extra gear to hit the home run. In addition, he's versatile in the passing game.
Compactly built speedster who shared carries with Robert Turbin, but has intriguing workout numbers, production and receiving ability to make a roster.
Positives -- Short and compactly built runner with a low center of gravity... Explosive speed, ran a 4.35-40 at the Utah State pro-day... A threat to take it the distance any time the ball touches his hands, had six runs of 40 or more yards as a senior in only 114 carries... Great leaping ability, posted a 40.5"vertical at his pro day... Former track and field star in high school... Strong blocker, really attacks and anchors well... Has very little tread on his tires after splitting the Utah State backfield with Robert Turbin... Runs through arm tackles... Secures the football well, doesn't expose the ball when he's running and doesn't appear to have any security issues... Very tough to track, can dip behind offensive linemen and explode up field and is a slippery runner... Highly productive when he gets carries, averaged 7.6 yards per carry as a senior... Good receiving ability, caught 38 career passes in limited playing time at Utah State... Smith's best football may still be in front of him.
Negatives -- Has a rather thin lower body and can get stood upright, struggles to push the pile forward, holds most of his strength in his upper body... Never carried the load and is better suited as a change of pace back... Has very short arms... Was never able to beat out Turbin for the starting gig at Utah State... Will extend plays too far to the outside and can get caught for negative yardage... Gets upright after he gets through the hole and takes some big hits... More fast than quick, doesn't have many ankle breaking moves, rather he prefers to lower his head and run straight ahead... Missed all but three games in the 2010 campaign after suffering a season ending foot injury... Will turn 24 before his rookie season after transferring from Eastern Arizona Junior College.