2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Minnesota CB Terell Smith

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling Minnesota CB Terell Smith.

#4 Terell Smith, CB, Minnesota (SR) — 6004, 207lbs.


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Terell Smith 6004/207 900 3268 7700
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

— Height/Weight/Speed prospect
— Experience in Man and Zone coverages
— Played to the boundary side
— Patient and physical in Press coverage
— Good click and close on underneath routes
— Positions himself well on deep balls
— Redirects receivers, good route awareness in Zone
— Good tackler overall
— Can be used to blitz from the corner

The Bad

— Could make more plays on deep balls
— Change of direction in Man coverage on balls thrown behind him
— Underwhelming production over his career
— Effort and technique to get off blocks
— Will miss tackles when overzealous coming downhill
— Will jump the play action fake in Zone coverage


— 2022 – 38 tackles, 34 solo, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 INT for 8 yards, 5 PBU, 1 FF
— Career – 109 tackles, 89 solo, 6.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 INT for 11 yards, 16 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF
— 45 games, 29 starts
— East-West Shrine Bowl (2023)
— Academic All-Big Ten (2022, 2021, 2020, 2019)
— In High school, lettered in Track and Field
— Ran a 20.84 in the 200 meter dash (fifth best time in the country) in the GHSA Region 8-AAAAAAA meet
— Won the Georgia State Championship in the 100m (10.39) as a junior
— Won the Georgia State Championship in the 200m (21.26) as a sophomore
— The fastest Big Ten corner commit since 2010

Tape Breakdown

Before the Shrine Bowl I didn’t know a lot about Terell Smith. After watching him breakup a handful of passes in the team practices and one-on-one’s I was intrigued. The NFL will always be interested in the prospects with size and speed and Smith fits that outline.

At Minnesota, he played the majority of time on the boundary side on the field. That usually indicates they trust him to handle things on his own with less safety help. He was used in a variety of coverages including Press Man, Off Man and Zone.

In Press coverage, he displays good patience and a good jam at the line of scrimmage. He displays the play strength and timing to jam and restrict and reroute receivers. With his speed he is able to run with anyone on deep routes or across the field. In Off Man, he shows a good backpedal with good pad level allowing him to click and close on plays in front of him. He accelerates quickly and had several pass breakups on slants and curls in front of him. On deep balls, he has plenty of speed to put himself in a good position inside the receiver and using his body and the sideline to close the throwing lane.

At Penn State, Smith (4) is at the bottom of the screen. He shows patience at the line of scrimmage getting a jam and is in good position on the inside downfield. Finds the ball and uses his body to ride the receiver out of bounds.

While in the short Zone, he first looks to reroute the receiver in his area before getting into his Zone. He has the athleticism to close the hole between him and the safety quickly making it a difficult for opponents to throw over him into that area. He displays plus awareness of route combinations and of receivers coming into his area. Blitzing was part of his game as well coming from the outside corner or from the edge when no receiver was to his side.

Vs Colorado, this was the first play I watch of Smith. Blitzing from the bottom of the formation and getting the strip sack.

Here are a few of pass breakups coming downhill. The first two are from the top of the screen and the last on the bottom. Reading the play and then closing quickly on the ball.

A couple more plays in Zone against Nebraska. Both times he is at the top first breaking on a ball underneath and then closing the gap behind him getting the interception.

Against the run, from the outside he executes his role as the force player to funnel the runner inside. He shows solid effort to make the play to his side and uses good technique to cut down or wrap up the runner. In space, when he plays under control he will square up the ball carrier and is a good tackler.

He is willing in the run game. Here are a few samples of him doing his part.

Here are a couple examples of tackles in space. Vs Colorado and Michigan State he is under control and wraps to take down the runner.

Areas to improve include shortening his change of direction when in Man coverage. When the receiver stems outside and his back is to the ball, he is susceptible to throws on behind him like back shoulder and comebacks. It takes him several steps and will turn himself around in these situations. On deep balls, he needs to locate and high point the ball more consistently. I saw three plays where he was in good position but unable to make a play on the ball. Incidentally, he looked better in this situation at the Shrine practices. When coming downhill to make a tackle he can be too aggressive causing a miss. His effort and consistency when getting off blocks can improve. When playing in Zone, he will jump the play action fake leaving a bigger hole in his Zone.

At Michigan State, this ball gets knock down at the LOS but at the top of the screen you can see him get twisted and he takes five steps to change direction.

At Penn State, he’s in the slot covering a Post route. He’s in fairly good position and goes for the interception and comes up empty.


Overall, Smith is capable of playing in a Man or Zone scheme. He is best suited to play outside but could play in the slot if needed. He closes quickly on the underneath throws, has good route awareness and has the long speed to hang with any receiver. Areas to improve include making more plays on deep throws, quickening his change of direction and improving his technique getting off blocks. He did give up three catches downfield (2 vs Penn State, 1 vs Nebraska) but in each of those the receiver had to make impressive catches.

Smith started his freshman season in college. Benjamin St. Juste transferred to Minnesota and beat him out. So Smith played sparingly for two seasons. He could have transferred but he stuck it out and started his last two years. In most of the games I watched he wasn’t targeted a lot but he made plays. He’s not the flashy, look at me player. He’s consistent and executes his role. He could also profile as a gunner on special teams.

He is a height, weight, speed player the NFL looks for and though there may not be a lot about him out there right now there will be. I expect him to do very well at the Combine including a 40 in the 4.3 range. For a player comp I’ll give you Jamel Dean from Tampa Bay. He too had the size, speed and physicality at the line of scrimmage.

Projection: Day Two (Third Round)

Depot Draft Grade:  8.0 Potential Starter/Good Backup

Games Watched: 2022 – Vs Colorado, At Michigan State, Vs Purdue, At Penn State, At Nebraska, Vs Northwestern

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