Rookie Spotlight: Jaylen Smith, University of Louisville
Height: 6016 (official)
Weight: 221 lbs (official)
Hands: 3 3/8”
Arm: 33 5/8”
40 yard dash: 4.6 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Noah Brown, Ricardo Louis, Devante Parker
– imposing build
– good lateral agility
– runs well with ball in hands
– lacks physicality
– suspect hands
– looked horrible at the Senior Bowl
– digressed through college careera
Scouting Notes: As physically imposing as Jaylen Smith is, he should be able to shed coverage and win contested catches a lot more than he does. The fact the 6’2’’, 221 lb receiver was Louisville’s no.1 option in the passing game, yet scored only one TD on the 2018 season should tell you something about his ability, or rather willingness, to out-muscle defenders for the ball. Smith knows how to get open over the middle of the field though, and he can come up with big plays – he had a 17.4 YPC over his last 2 seasons. Smith transitions well from receiver to runner – that may be his biggest strength, in fact. He keeps his pads low for a big guy, and he’s surprisingly shifty move from sideline to sideline. I wish he’d use his impressive frame more to outposition defenders and try to use his entire catch radius to make receptions, rather than just reach up to pluck the ball from the air. His lack of effort extends to his blocking, where he should have an easy time stymieing defenders, but instead he too often lets his guard down too early.
Fantasy Outlook: Smith underwhelmed at the Senior Bowl, where he looked out of place to many of the dynamic pass-catchers who shared the field. He missed plenty of should-be catches and only came away with 1 catch for 12 yards in the game. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as he only had 1 catch for 22 yards against Alabama this season. Smith also came in 2 inches shorter than what he was listed as before the Senior Bowl. That extra height may have covered some blemishes that showed up on the field. Unless he has a head-turning Combine performance in him, Smith could go undrafted at this point – and rightfully so. Smith struggled beating the press in college, in addition to his lack of blocking prowess, so I don’t have high hopes for him making it on the next level as an every down receiver. And, his unproductivity in the red-zone only makes things more difficult for fantasy success. Jaylen Smith has some pretty decent tape, but he seems to be wilting under the pressure as his opposition gets tougher. For now, and the foreseeable future, he’s a late round dynasty flier.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all rookie profiles, this one will continue to be updated through the winter and spring with intel as we acquire it. When applicable/available, these profiles will be supplemented with transcriptions of scouting combine interviews with the players following the event.
Overview: Big, physical wide receiver … has caught 116 passes for 1,955 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career … played in 36 career games … averaging 16.9 yards per reception during his career.