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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ainias Smith (WR – Texas A&M)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ainias Smith (WR – Texas A&M)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Texas A&M wide receiver Ainias Smith.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ainias Smith

Ainias Smith (WR – Texas A&M)

5’10” – 200 lbs.

Background:

Texas native who began his collegiate career as a wide receiver, catching 22-248-3 (11.3) in 2019 before splitting time between the slot and running back the following year (mostly the slot) and finishing with 43-564-6 (13.1) receiving and 49-293-4 (6.0) on the ground. Has been more of a full-time receiver since, with 47-509-6 (10.8) in 2021. Was arrested the following offseason on multiple counts (unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana and DWI), then ended up sustaining a lower-body injury four games into the season and ending up with just 15-291-2 (19.4) on the year. Had his most productive season in 2023: 53-795-2 (15.0).

Positives:

Relatively thick slot receiver with solid career production. Physical, tough receiver. Shows quick feet and suddenness to release at the line of scrimmage against press coverage. Knows how to change speeds and use his rhythm to create separation, with good quickness at the stem. Puts window dressing on the tops of his routes to freeze defenders. Hands were much more reliable this year, with just one drop against 53 receptions. Overall power and agility as a runner are very impressive; has a low center of gravity, with very good contact balance and the ability to break tackles. Shows good vision to weave through traffic and find pockets of space. Works hard to fight for additional yardage after contact. Shows good competitiveness and lower-body strength as a blocker, and works hard to engage, with solid ability to like up defenders in space; chippy temperament, with a more powerful shove than anticipated. Has also returned punts for the Aggies, with two career touchdowns; the role suits his skillset well.

Negatives:

Height is closer to average for the slot. Not exclusively a slot, but less than a quarter of his snaps have come split out wide. Quicker than he is fast, and may struggle to create separation down the field against man. Route tree is pretty simple, with a lot of speed outs, some in routes, some flat releases from motion, and a lot of clearing patterns; most of his targets come within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t present his quarterback with a very wide catch radius, and can struggle to come down with contested grabs in tight coverage. Drops were an issue in the past (15 against 127 receptions from 2019-2022). Prior arrest will raise questions during the pre-draft process.

Summary:

A quick slot receiver who doesn’t run a ton of different routes, but has the quickness and attention to detail to freeze defenders sitting in off coverage, and who’s a very competitive runner after the catch with excellent contact balance. With a creative playcaller who can get him the ball with room to work, could be a nice YAC threat at the next level. Projects as a mid-round selection.

Projection: Round 4-5

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