Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room examines Texas A&M reciever Ainias Smith, whose skills and attention to detail and is reminiscent of a young Derrick Mason.
One of my favorite receivers of the past 25 years, Mason had a 15-year career with the Titans and Ravens where he earned nearly 950 receptions, over 12,000 yards, and 66 touchdowns as a receiver and over 5,000 yards and 3 additional scores returning kicks and punts.
A two-time Pro-Bowl player with a First-Team All-Pro nod in 2000, Mason played well beyond his fourth-round selection in 1997. An eight-time, 1,000-yard receiver, Mason’s career is good by first-round standards.
In this respect, Ainias Smith earning a working comparison to Mason is heady stuff for a tailback convert at Texas A&M. Still, there’s a good chance that Smith will have better draft capital than Mason.
If not, Mason’s career story is pertinent to Smith, who is still learning the position.
Mason spent his first three years in Tennessee as a return specialist and reserve receiver who compiled a little more than 600 yards during this span.That’s right, Mason’s starting receiving gig didn’t begin until Age 26 and his first 1,000-yard season didn’t happen until age 27. Mason’s last 1,000-yard year? Age 36 where he averaged 14.1 yards per catch and earned 7 scores — one of his best seasons.
Smith is a shifty player with attention to detail that, if he continues using to grow his overall game, it will give him a chance to follow Mason’s lead and carve out a career as a valuable NFL starter who can learn multiple receiver postions. I like what I’ve seen from Smith’s initial development with his release game and once into his route, he can tell a story the way a craftsman like Marvin Jones weaves a yarn that baits all types of defensive backs.
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