View Full Version : Alphonso Smith info...

04-25-2009, 07:23 PM
Smith is just the third player this century to amass 20 or more interceptions in a career, joining Jim Leonhard of Wisconsin (21, 2001-04) and Mitch Meeuwsen of Oregon State (20, 2001-04), and only the second in Atlantic Coast Conference annals to reach that lofty mark (Dre' Bly of North Carolina had 20, 1996-98). Only nine other players in the history of college football (all levels) have produced more interceptions in a career than Smith.

What makes Smith even more valuable at his position is his ability to make big plays in the backfield. Few cornerbacks, much less ones that stand just 5-feet-9 can boast having nine sacks, 23.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and eight forced fumbles on those hits during a career. He also adds to his resume as a capable kickoff returner, averaging 20.7 yards for his career, along with using his superb leaping ability and timing to block five kicks during his time at Wake Forest.

Smith was a standout player at quarterback and defensive back during his days at Pahokee High School, where he was the runner-up for state Player of the Year honors as a senior. He helped the Blue Devils to a 13-1 record and the Class 2B state championship, earning MVP honors in the state title game, throwing a 58-yard touchdown strike to current Deacon teammate Demir Boldin in that contest.

As a quarterback, Smith threw for 2,400 yards and 32 touchdowns and also rushed for 640 yards and six scores in 2003. He was responsible for 38 touchdowns as a senior, including scores on interception, punt, kickoff and fumble returns. He added 27 tackles, a sack and four interceptions as a cornerback, earning first-team All-State honors. He also played in the Outback Bowl and the Palm Beach All-Star Game. In addition to football, he was a starter on the basketball team.

Smith came to Wake Forest with high school teammates D.J. Boldin and Antonio Wilson, spending the 2004 season performing on the scout team. He made an immediate impact during 2005 spring camp, emerging as the team's starting left cornerback. He would earn consensus Freshman All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors that season. He placed fourth on the team with 60 tackles (52 solos), adding two sacks and eight stops for loss, along with a forced fumble. He picked off three passes, deflected nine throws and blocked a pair of kicks.

Smith started the first three games at left cornerback before coming off the bench for the rest of the 2006 campaign. He posted 48 tackles (37 solos) and led the ACC cornerbacks with four sacks and 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He batted down eight passes and had another three interceptions. He also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.

In 2007, Smith garnered national recognition with his first All-American award. The All-ACC first-team pick ranked tied for second in the nation with eight interceptions, as he returned three of them for touchdowns, one shy of the NCAA single-season record. He added 44 tackles with three sacks and led the conference with four forced fumbles. He also had 10 pass deflections and blocked a kick for the third consecutive season.

In his own version of the game show, "Can You Top This," Smith did so as a senior. The consensus All-American tied for third in the nation with seven interceptions in 2008, adding a team-high thirteen pass deflections. He averaged 22.0 yards as a kickoff returner, blocked a kick and caused two fumbles. He was credited with 37 tackles (28 solos) while starting all 13 games while shuttling between free safety and left cornerback.

Scouting Report

GRADE: 6.10

Body Structure: Smith has a short frame with adequate muscle tone, but possesses good arm length and large, natural hands to secure the interception. He has a tight waist and hips, but lacks lower-body thickness (skinny ankles and calves).

Athletic Ability: Smith has above-average foot speed and ability to change direction. He lacks strength and can be washed out by a small receiver blocking. He is very smooth and fluid in his movements and displays outstanding hands for the interception, but even with his good leaping ability, he will get pinned by taller receivers during jump balls. He flips his hips and mirrors a receiver on deep routes, but is better suited for the slot in a man scheme or playing in a pure zone scheme, as he lacks any sort of physicality to produce impact hits or jam the receivers at the line. He has very good body control elevating to come down with the pass when uncontested and displays the burst to close on plays in front of him and the second gear to recover when a receiver gets behind him. GRADE: 6.6

Football Sense: Smith has good vision for the action in front of him, showing good timing to disrupt. He easily digests complicated plays, but gets a bit reckless in his play (seems to be caught up more in going for the interception rather than covering the receiver). He can be soft and back away from a confrontation and while durable, he is not the type that could play with pain at the next level. He thinks on his feet and has no problem handling different assignments. He just needs to control his emotion, as it does get the best of him on occasion (ejected from the 2006 Clemson game for throwing a punch and was then benched for most of the year as an attitude adjustment). GRADE: 6.4

Character: Smith plays with emotion and can get in trouble with the coaches and referees. He is an engaging person who presents himself well off the field, but he has a chip on his shoulder that might not go over well with NFL veterans. GRADE: 5.5

Competitiveness: Smith plays with good aggression until confronted and then will shy away. Shows good mental toughness when he doesn't let his emotions get the best of him. He could play nickel back or zone corner due to lack of size, but he is never going to be confused for an impact hitter. GRADE: 6.0

Work Habits: Smith is a good worker who had maturity issues earlier in his career, but did eventually buy into the program and football is very important to him. He takes well to hard coaching and is a scrappy type in the locker room who won't hesitate to order his teammates to fall in if necessary. GRADE: 6.0


GRADE: 6.63

Key and Diagnostic Skills: Short but has the vision, instincts and awareness to always get to the ball. He lacks the strength to prevent from getting bounced around, but gives every effort to make the play. He does a good job of anticipating the quarterback when playing in the zone and generally makes good reads and adjustments to flow to the ball. He will try to reroute receivers with a press, but he lacks the strength to be too effective. His ability to quickly identify his keys and react to the play makes him look taller than his size. He has the ability to distinguish between pass-run with no concern that he will be fooled by play action. His timing and feel for the ball in flight gets him most of his success when making plays on the ball. GRADE: 7.0

Man Coverage Ability: Smith is a natural ball thief with outstanding feet and ability to mirror and adjust to the receiver's movements. He can stick his hands in the face of his man to impede his opponent's vision of the ball in flight and does a very nice job of planting, redirecting and flipping his hips. He is equally efficient playing the trail, cover or cushion, and rarely allows cushion on the route. GRADE: 7.3

Zone Coverage Ability: Smith has very loose hips, but he will open up too early, especially when challenged with double moves. He lacks the upper-body strength or solid hand placement skills to reroute receivers. He does show good comprehension of zone concepts and has the range and suddenness (too sudden at times) in his movements to attack plays in front of him or switch off on his assignment in the deep part of the secondary. He can play in off coverage, but is still better in man-to-man action. GRADE: 6.4

Backpedal Skills: Smith shows the ability to change direction and is usually in good control coming out of his backpedal. He has the natural feet to be continuous in his movements and even though his speed will let him get away with it, he is never sloppy nor takes extra steps coming out of his breaks. GRADE: 6.7

Ball Reaction Skills: Smith has the vision and timing to get an excellent break on the ball. He shows good courage going for the ball at its high point, but will get a little soft vs. more physical receivers. He compensates for a lack of strength with his timing and foot quickness to step in front of the receiver. With his excellent hand/eye coordination, he reminds some of Ronde Barber for the way he breaks on the ball. GRADE: 7.3

Range/Recovery: Smith has good recovery speed and the range, along with the ability to cover ground while the ball is in the air. He takes good angles to the ball and has no problems when trailing or running on the hip of his coverage assignment. He can cover up mistakes with his recovery speed and looks just as fast in pads as he did in workouts. GRADE: 6.4

Jumping Ability: Smith gets good elevation in his jumps, but can get beaten to the ball by the taller receivers. He has outstanding ability to track the ball in flight, doing what all great ball thieves do -- shut out his surroundings to concentrate on the ball. He sacrifices his body to compete, but won't win too many battles there vs. more physical and bigger receiver. He has exceptional body control through his elevation, exciting the crowd with his ability to adjust in the air, thanks to the way he times the ball in flight. GRADE: 7.0

Hands: Smith is a natural hands catcher with big mitts for a little man (hands measured 9 5/8-inches, bigger than some of Wake's offensive linemen). He is not the type that has to rely on his body to catch the ball and looks very natural extending and plucking the pigskin away from his frame. His hands are that of a receiver's quality, evident by his conference record 21 interceptions and 40 pass breakups. GRADE: 8.0

Run Defense: The effort is there, but he gets bounced around and is just an adequate tackler who offers little in run force. He lacks good tackling technique and does not always get himself in position to make the play. He needs to use his hands better to keep blockers off his body, but even if his hands were active, he still lacks the strength to wrap and secure (more of a grab or drag-down type). GRADE: 5.1

Tackling Ability: Smith is just an adequate tackler. He will go low and wrestle down receivers, but ballcarriers are simply going to run through him. He can hope to knock the outside runner out of bounds, but he hits with such little thud, a mosquito bite is more painful. GRADE: 5.1

Compares To: DRE' BLY, ex-Denver -- Smith is an extraordinary pass thief with great timing and recovery speed. He plays taller than his size indicates, but is not strong enough to challenge more physical receivers, especially in press coverage. He is best suited to be a zone corner or operate in the slot in man coverage as he will get soft on you if bounced around by bigger blockers.


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04-25-2009, 07:27 PM
10th most INTs in college football history. That, alone is pretty interesting.

No one liked D-will's size, either... but he became a fan favorite.

I'm a little skeptical, but more excited after reading more about him.

04-25-2009, 07:29 PM
(No. 37 overall, Broncos) Denver trades up to get who we believe is the best cornerback in this draft. If Smith were two inches taller, he would have been considered a top-10 pick. He has the speed, fluidity in his hips, instincts and ball skills to make an instant impact in a position of dire need for the Broncos.


Coverage skills: Consistently makes plays on the ball to break up or intercept passes. Reads the quarterback well in zone coverage, which enables him to plant, drive and close fast on passes in front of him. Does a good job going through receivers to break up the pass. Rarely gets called for the penalty. Is excellent in tight man coverage; stays on the receiver's hip all over the field and rarely allows separation. Shows the versatility to cover a slot receiver. Grade: 8.5

Run/pass recognition: Shows excellent instincts and awareness to help him avoid misreads and mistakes. Is able to maintain his cushion when playing off the receiver and then drive and close on passes in a flash. Reads routes well. Shows the ability to get in front of the receiver to cut him off and shield him from the ball. Does not get fooled by play-action fakes and consistently stays in proper coverage position. Grade: 8.5

Closing speed: Has the explosive closing burst to consistently make plays on the ball. Shows the playing speed to stay with receivers on deep routes. Grade: 8.5

Ball skills: Consistently makes plays to break up passes despite often being much shorter than the receiver he is covering. Is aggressive going up against the receiver. Has the ability to cut in front of the receiver and make the interception. Has outstanding hands for the interception, even on high passes. Grade: 8.5

Run support: Seems to enjoy hitting and tackling. Avoids blockers well and usually gets the ballcarrier to the ground. At times, tries to go for big hit and ends up grabbing at the ballcarrier's feet to try and recover. Grade: 7.5

Bottom line: At first glance, Smith doesn't seem tall enough to be an NFL cornerback. But with more film evaluation, it becomes clear he has enough positive traits to overcome his height and be an elite NFL cornerback. He has the top athleticism, competitiveness and ball skills few cornerbacks have, and he is a big-play threat as a return man. Expect him to contribute early in his career and develop into a good starter.

04-25-2009, 07:30 PM
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04-25-2009, 07:33 PM
Also, 4 of the CB's in the Pro Bowl were either 5'9 or 5'10, so you don't need to be over 6' to be an impact CB.

04-25-2009, 07:34 PM
I really like the pick, but did not like trading away one of our first round picks in 2010 at all.

04-25-2009, 07:36 PM
I've seen written about Smith pretty consistently that if he were a couple inches taller, easily at least a top 15 pick. Most mock drafts I saw had Smith going in the late 1st round-early 2nd spot and obviously the Broncos really like him.

04-25-2009, 07:48 PM
They talked to Smith earlier today on Sirius. He said that it was no surprise to go to Denver as they really clicked during his visit, but he had hoped to go at 18. Apparently he impressed the staff by immediately grasping the defensive scheme which has some parallels with the stuff they did at Wake Forest.

Overall, I think the keyword for this draft is "scheme fit". Moreno is obvious, Ayers and Smith both came out and said it, and when you look at McBath he's a great match for the cover 1/3 configuration Nolan likes to run.

Ok, back to lurking...

04-25-2009, 07:49 PM
I've seen written about Smith pretty consistently that if he were a couple inches taller, easily at least a top 15 pick. Most mock drafts I saw had Smith going in the late 1st round-early 2nd spot and obviously the Broncos really like him.

He better be...we just traded what will probably be a top 10 pick for him.

04-25-2009, 07:58 PM
Reminds me of Darrent Williams.

04-26-2009, 11:11 AM
He better be...we just traded what will probably be a top 10 pick for him.

We traded Chicago's first round draft pick so it should be between 15-28