COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 03: South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Cam Smith (9) turns and runs with Georgia State Panthers wide receiver Robert Lewis (14) during a football game between the Georgia State Panthers and the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 03: South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Cam Smith (9) turns and runs with Georgia State Panthers wide receiver Robert Lewis (14) during a football game between the Georgia State Panthers and the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

South Carolina Corner Cam Smith Shows First Round Skill Set

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Cam Smith is impressive.

He can line up in an off-man coverage look, or he can come up and press. He can also play zone.

This corner has a lanky frame and long arms. Not only does he anticipate well, but he has great ball instincts.

Smith has a physical and aggressive demeanor.

Smith likes to lurk

This South Carolina prospect has the feel of a shutdown corner.

He has an imposing presence, and he has the mentality to lock up in tight man.

To date between 2020-2022, Smith has posted 6 interceptions and 14 passes defended.

He’s aggressive in run support

I can’t tell you how many corners I’ve seen in my lifetime that want nothing to do with run support.

At best, many of them will reluctantly chime in on a tackle, but only if it’s absolutely necessary.

Not Smith…

Smith loves to attack the run.

Then there was the Georgia game

Smith excited me in the matchups against Vanderbilt and Clemson, but he had a rough outing against the Bulldogs.

Right when I was ready to anoint him as a top-15 prospect, he just had to go and struggle.

No question, Smith has a first-round skill set. He even has that coveted short-area burst, which is a trademark of star corners in the NFL.

Back to the Georgia game…

Smith didn’t look like the same guy. I don’t know if the lights were too bright, but he was back on his heels from the get-go.

He didn’t have that same swag or aggressiveness.

He was hesitant and it cost him, especially on a deep touchdown pass when the Bulldogs’ receiver blew right past him.

Smith trailed that deep shot by several yards.

NFL Draft sites love Smith

A good number of draft platforms see Smith going in the first-round.

Pro Football Network, 247Sports, CBS, Draftwire, SBNation, Fansided, NBC Sports Chicago, Bleacher Report, The Sporting News, The Athletic, The San Diego Union Tribune, The 33rd Team, Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Focus all have put a first-round grade on Smith.

While I am going to put a first-round grade on him as well, I will be circling back and confirming this grade based on his 2022 game film.

That Georgia game scared me.

It makes me wonder if he got big-game jitters against a big-time team.

Georgia is a great NFL tuneup, and I will need to see Smith rebound to confirm if that game was a one-off, or if it was indicative of a much bigger problem.

#9 Cam Smith 6-foot-0, 190 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: First-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First-Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Projected by 63.5% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of October 12, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2021 game film reviewed: Vanderbilt, Clemson and Georgia (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: High

2021 stats: 41 tackles (31 solo, 10 assists), 11 passes defended, 3 INT, 1 forced fumble

NFL comparable: Barry Wilburn

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Lean and well-built aggressive corner with long arms, good speed, and short-area burst. Thrives playing in tight press. Can also line up in an off-man look or in zone coverage. Strong jam technique. Uses hands well. Fluid-looking movements. Effortlessly can turn and run. Often shadowed receivers with quick reflexes, and showed excellent anticipation. Likes to get physical with receivers as he stayed in phase. Doesn’t give a lot of space. Can break downhill and back to the ball quickly and broke up a couple passes. Gets those long arms in there to defend passes. Showed good acceleration chasing in support. Not nearly as good when he hesitated. Provides awesome run support and he is a solid tackler. Intriguing prospect with playmaking ability.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. How does he look in big games?
  2. Does he hesitate in coverage?
  3. What are his pass breakup and interception production?
  4. Does he stay healthy?

Smith will be one to watch this season as we head toward the 2023 NFL Draft.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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