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2023 NFL Draft prospect profile - Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Is Smith the starter the Giants need opposite Adoree Jackson?

Clemson v South Carolina Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The 2023 cornerback projects to be one of the best and most thoroughly talented we’ve seen in some time. This class is so good that we might see a dozen starting corners drafted in the first three rounds. There are corners of every conceivable body-type and skill sets to fit every defense commonly played in the NFL.

Given the glut of talent, it’s understandable for even good cornerbacks to get lost in the shuffle. We can’t say that South Carolina’s Cam Smith is an under-the-radar prospect or a “hidden gem”. He’s still widely regarded among the top cornerback prospects in this draft class, however bigger or more athletic corners have overshadowed him some as the Draft Process has worn on.

Could Smith’s aggressiveness and versatility appeal to the New York Giants and Wink Martindale’s aggressive and multiple defense?

Prospect: Cam Smith (9)
Games Watched: vs. East Carolina (2021), vs. Arkansas (2022), vs. Kentucky (2022)


Courtesy Kent Lee Platte (@mathbomb) |

Career Stats

Games Played: 32

Tackles: 91
Tackles for a loss: 3.5
Forced fumbles: 1
Passes defensed: 18
Interceptions: 6

2022 Stats

Games Played: 11

Tackles: 27
Tackles for a loss: 1.0
Forced fumbles: 0
Passes defensed: 5
Interceptions: 1

Quick Summary

Best: Hip fluidity, competitive toughness, coverage ability, versatility
Worst: Size, long speed, hand discipline
Projection: A starting cornerback with scheme versatility.

Game Tape

(Smith is South Carolina CB number 9)

Full Report

South Carolina’s Cam Smith has a good blend of athleticism, coverage ability, and competitive toughness to be a cornerback at the NFL level.

Smith is a fiery and versatile cornerback prospect with experience playing in a number of different alignments and coverage schemes. He has lined up on both the left and right side of the defense, outside and in the slot, and is able to execute both man and zone schemes. He typically aligned as an outside cornerback in South Carolina’s defense, and that’s where he spent the majority of his time in the tape viewed. However, he did play the slot if the opposing formation demanded it or if he was in man coverage and his receiver motioned into the slot.

Smith has experience and upside as a man coverage corner. He has very fluid hips and quick feet, allowing him to easily get in phase with receivers early in their routes and stay in their hip pocket throughout the rep. Smith has enough speed to carry most receivers on vertical routes, as well as the foot quickness to minimize separation given up on short routes. He is also a very physical cornerback and seems to relish contact. He’s capable of delivering a disruptive jam at the start of routes, upsetting quicker receivers’ release and timing.

Smith is also a capable defender in off or zone coverages. He’s able to drop his hips at the start of the play, lowering his center of gravity and getting into a compact backpedal to gain depth while maintaining his balance. Smith has good awareness in zone coverage, and does a good job of keeping his eyes in the backfield. He has a solid understanding of route concepts and is generally good at navigating forced conflict. He also has a quick downhill trigger and understands how to leverage the ball in run defense to force runners back to his teammates.

Smith is a very physical defender, whether it’s in space as a coverage player or in run defense. He fairly flies to the ball once he reads the play and consistently arrives with bad intentions. Smith is unafraid of contact and is willing to take on bigger blockers or put his body on the line to deliver hits.

That said, Smith’s aggressiveness and physicality can get the better of him at times as well. He can be prone to being “grabby” in coverage, occasionally latching on early in the rep, at the top of the stem when a receiver makes his break, or at the catch point. While the college game allows more contact and physical play, Smith might need an adjustment period as he gets used to the NFL’s officiating.

Smith’s size could be an issue against bigger receivers. He has average-at-best length at 6-foot with 31-inch arms and has a relatively slim frame at 180 pounds. He lacks the catch-denial radius of longer cornerbacks as well as the mass to truly mix it up with bigger receivers – not that he lets that stop him from trying. Smith can occasionally struggle to shed blocks on the perimeter, as well as getting bigger ball carriers on the ground when he doesn’t have a good angle.

Overall Grade: 8.1


Cam Smith projects as a starting cornerback at the NFL level.

His size might preclude him from playing in a primarily press alignment, as bigger and technically savvy NFL receivers can exploit his relative lack of size and length. However, he’s an easy mover with the fluid hips and good change of direction skills necessary to get in receivers’ hip pockets in man coverage. He also has the range and awareness to execute zone coverages and should be considered scheme versatile.

Smith is an aggressive, competitive cornerback in the mold of previous South Carolina CBs, but he will need to be careful at the NFL level. Smith won’t be allowed to be quite as physical as he is used to in college, and could have some rocky moments early on as he adjusts to the NFL.

That said, teams shouldn’t try to temper Smith too much in the NFL. He’ll be at his best in an aggressive defense that allows him to routinely play man coverage or man-match rules in zone coverages. Smith isn’t the biggest, most athletic, or splashiest cornerback in the draft, but his blend of traits should make him a good and versatile starter at the NFL level.