Why is nobody talking about Cam Smith?

With a major need at CB for the Steelers this year and a draft rich in higher end CB prospects, the draft has generated plenty of CB conversations this year. There are the Porter enthusiasts, the Banks enthusiasts, the odd Forbes or Turner or Brents enthusiast, and of course the "there's bound to be a good prospect fall to 32 or even 49" proponents.

I've seen mock drafts give the Steelers Gonzalez, Witherspoon, Banks, Forbes, Ringo, Brents, and of course Porter, but the name nobody seems to remember is Smith. I find it strange that Cam Smith has so readily been relegated to the crowd of nameless gray faces in the "32 or even 49" mass. I contend that Smith isn't a guy who should be lumped in with the crowd in this draft class but should be one of the more commonly mentioned names as targets the Steelers could come away with, and should be happy to do so. Let's talk about how Cam Smith stands out.

1. He's been good for more than just one year.

In fact, Devon Witherspoon is the only prospect who has been better over the past two years then Smith (based on passer rating allowed). Smith isn't a flash in the pan, he had an outstanding season in 2021, allowing opposing QB's a passer rating of just 36.5 when targeting him. That raises his floor as a player who has consistently proven his capability rather than just having a few good games and some good traits, and let's be honest safer prospects are what we should be looking for with our track record drafting and developing CB's.

2. He's good at everything

This is a sneaky one because we have a tendency to focus on one thing at a time. It's actually incredibly important in a CB, though, because no matter how good you are at what you do best, teams will look to exploit your weakness. Devon Witherspoon is a perfect cover corner, except at 5'11, 181 he's going to struggle with bigger guys. Forbes is just 166. Brents has poor long speed. Banks is too linear. Porter lacks quickness. Cam Smith isn't the best at anything, but he's very good at everything. A little thinner than you'd like maybe, and needs to learn to be less grabby, but he's got length, speed, explosiveness, agility, fluidity (his smoothness in the non-timed drills at the combine drew rave reviews), big play production, experience, versatility... again, this makes him a safer prospect, and that's a good thing for us.

3. He stopped WR's from catching footballs

I know statistical production in college is far from everything. Matakevich was a beast in college, etc. etc. It still is significant, though, especially if there's no glaring reason why a player's success shouldn't translate (as seen above). We should actually at some point pay attention to whether a cornerback actually did in college, the biggest thing you want a cornerback to do - stop people from catching footballs.

Few prospects this year actually did that better than Cam Smith. In 11 games, Smith gave up just 18 receptions for 211 yards. Only Porter and Witherspoon allowed fewer yards, and only Porter allowed fewer receptions. Part of that is teams not throwing as much against South Carolina, but part of teams not throwing as much is Smith (and Darius Rush) making that a less exciting option.


I'm not saying the Steelers should run to the podium for Smith if he's there at 17. I think you can argue that he'd be good value there, particularly for the Steelers, and is a better prospect than Banks, particularly for the Steelers, but I wouldn't insist on it. The main thing is that as one the best and safest picks at CB in this draft he definitely ought to be evaluated individually rather than simply lumped in with others as a second-tier prospect.

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