RSP Flashback: Lions RB Kevin Smith

Welcome back Kevin Smith, nice to see you still had it in you. Photo by Carlos Osorio.

Here is a very brief overview I wrote in the 2008 Rookie Scouting Portfolio about Kevin Smith as an underrated player in the 2008 draft class.

Kevin Smith, University of Central Florida: How does a 2000-yard rusher qualify as underrated? When analysts and draftniks dismiss him as a baby-faced junior who is too thin, too easy to bring down, and indecisive at the point of attack. The only thing that they have right is the remark about his face—and that doesn’t win or lose football games. Smith is bigger than Darren McFadden and will likely add another 10 pounds of muscle as he matures because it’s his upper body that is on the thinner side. He already has a very muscular trunk and runs with good balance. The skills that make Smith special are his vision, hard-cutting style, and hip flexibility, which is reminiscent of no back I’ve seen since Marcus Allen.

Smith had nearly 1000 yards as a rookie third-round pick. Photo by Carlos Osorio.

Smith faced 9- and 10-men fronts and demonstrated a decisive style. I watched him have a very productive day against a stout Mississippi State defense that loaded up the box to stop him. Although he needs to do a better job of moving his legs when wrapped up, he has deceptive power and runs out of more hits and ankle tackles than advertised. The fact that he’s one of the best pure runners in this draft and he is still raw as a player makes Smith an underrated commodity.

In a few years Smith has a strong chance to be known as the best back in this class if he can capitalize on his vast talent. What will hold him back early is his need to improve his skills as a receiver. Nevertheless, Smith will excite teammates, fans, and fantasy owners with his running style. My only concern with Smith is his hard-cutting style. Some of the backs that share this aspect of his style suffered knee injuries that robbed them of their skill.

3 responses to “RSP Flashback: Lions RB Kevin Smith”

  1. I am struggling with this one. In a must win this week. I have M. Bush, ADP & Murray. I have been trying to figure out whether to pass on Smith (I figure he won’t last long in the first WW round) for the sake of other pickups (Simpson, blocking my opponent on TE & DST pickups). How is it that the Lions thought so little of Smith they let him go for the likes of Harrison, Morris, Williams, and even tried to trade for Ronnie Brown?

    Also, factor in Carolina. Chris Johnson goes for 171 total one week against them, next week he goes 12/13/0. Lots of other RBs & RB committees had similar games.

    + Maybe (maybe) Best comes back.

    • Smith had a bad ACL tear in his second year and then a thumb injury concurrent with it. He also was rumored to have a shoulder injury. The Lions didn’t think he was ready to play football last year from a health standpoint.

  2. As per Matt’s suggestion ( FBG) , I picked up K Smith last week in all my leagues. Got him to scout for one week so I did not start him. Luckily, I did not need his points. Question now, is Kevin Smith a player to trade or keep? And if trading him, what’s his value? Having the second highest RB output this year puts him in a good buy low, sell high situation??

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