There’s a wide variety of blocking schemes at the NFL level, and a similarly wide variety of demands for scheme fits.
That’s why some college offensive line prospects can vary wildly in how they are ranked from one draft board to the next. Few college prospects are truly scheme diverse and many need to land in the right situation to be successful.
Virginia Tech’s Lecitus Smith is one of those prospects who has a broad enough skill set to be considered for almost any blocking scheme.
And since we don’t know just what kind of blocking scheme the New York Giants will be running in 2022, it makes sense to keep an eye on the Hokies’ left guard.
Prospect: Lecitus Smith (54)
Games Watched: vs. North Carolina (2021), vs. West Virginia (2021), vs. Baylor (2021), vs. Notre Dame (2021)
Games Played (starts): 38 starts, 10 starts in 2021
Best: Athleticism, leverage, scheme diversity
Worst: Accuracy in space, upper body strength, length
Projection: A starting guard in any blocking scheme
(Smith is LG number 54)
Lecitus Smith is an athletic, versatile, and scheme diverse guard prospect from Virginia Tech.
Smith sports a stout build with considerable thickness in his lower body, lending him a low center of gravity. He weighs in at 321 pounds but carries it well, with little bad weight. Smith’s build belies surprisingly good movement skills and overall athleticism.
Smith has good flexibility throughout his lower body, playing with good knee bend to keep his hips and pads low. He also shows good ankle flexibility in his lateral movements. Smith’s low pad level and wide base allow him to emphasize his already-low center of gravity. That low center of gravity, plus quick feet, allow him to absorb and anchor against power rushers. Smith’s overall athleticism allows him to mirror interior speed rushers, as well as to get in position to pick up blitzes or late-developing pressure.
Smith was also frequently used as a pulling guard, both on running plays and pulling to the D-gap to help sell play-action passes.
His blend of play strength and athleticism gives him good versatility and scheme diversity. Smith is able to execute a variety of blocks, from outside zone runs to man-gap power concepts in short-yardage situations.
While Smith sports a powerful lower body, his upper body doesn’t quite appear to match. He is able to anchor and create movement with his legs, but his upper body strength is inconsistent. He occasionally seems to “catch” defenders, rather than delivering violent strikes – though he is capable of those. He can also be an inaccurate blocker in space. Smith was asked to pull or otherwise play in space very frequently, but his blocks often missed.
Overall Grade: 7.5
Lecitus Smith projects as a starting guard with true scheme diversity at the NFL level. He should appeal to any team in need of a guard, and his blend of play strength and athleticism will allow him to execute any blocking system asked of him.
Smith is an effective pass protector with the movement skills to match up against athletic rushers and the power to meet and absorb bullrushes. He is also a capable run blocker with the skill set to execute any blocking scheme he’ll encounter at the NFL level. Smith’s athleticism opens up a variety of options for his offensive coordinator, such as using a pulling guard to sell play-action or pin-and-pull schemes in the running game.
Teams will likely want to see Smith deliver his strikes with greater (or at least more consistent) violence. Likewise, Smith will need to deliver his blocks in space with greater accuracy at the NFL level. Doing so could allow Smith to make key blocks at the second level to turn routine plays into big gains.