Skip to main content
Publish date:

Zac Taylor Offers Up Big-Time Praise For Rookie Offensive Lineman D'Ante Smith

The Bengals picked Smith in the fourth-round (139th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft

CINCINNATI — Bengals training camp is in full swing and so is their hunt for the five best offensive linemen on the roster.

Jonah Williams, Riley Reiff and Trey Hopkins are going to start at both tackle spots and center, but the two starting guard jobs are still up for grabs. 

Rookie offensive tackle D'Ante Smith has officially entered the competition. He got first-team reps at left guard during Saturday's practice. With Quinton Spain not practicing due to a minor injury, Smith, who usually plays tackle, got a chance to show the coaching staff what he could do at guard.

"There's just some opportunities with Quinton Spain being out to rotate some other guys in there. He'd been making progress at tackle, let's throw him in at guard and see how he does and he did really well," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said on Sunday. " So again, you just want to find the best five guys you can put out there and play them. And if D'Ante proves to be one of those guys, let's get him on the field and make it work."

Smith was in at left guard when the Bengals' offense put together a 75-yard touchdown drive. He was called for one false start, but impressed the coaches—especially since that was his first time playing guard.

His work ethic and his ability to respond to coaching has helped put him in a position to play and potentially start, much earlier than most expected.

"He is physical. He's got the right intangibles. He's a smart football player," Taylor said. "And he takes the coaching and makes himself better. So, he takes the coaching from a week ago, he takes the coaching from a day ago, and he uses that to become a better player each day, and you reward that. And so he ran in there with the ones and did a great job. There's a couple things he had not done before until yesterday's move the ball period, and he did them and he did them well. Not to say it was perfect, but I can guarantee you one thing about D'Ante is he'll take the mistakes Frank gives him and he'll correct them today, and he'll be much better today. So, really excited about the progress he's making and just his overall approach has been great to see."

Smith may have went to a small school (ECU), but he carries himself like a pro. Taylor raved about the fourth-rounder on Sunday. 

"My first interaction was at the Senior Bowl during that 18 minute meeting with him where he was really impressive," Taylor said. "One of the things he laid out to you back then was his weight progression and what his goals were for his weight, and I still have my notes, he has hit every single weight progression he gave us for the season. The Senior Bowl, the combine time, reporting for NFL, reporting for training camp, bam, he hit all five of them. And so that just tells you he's got that pro mentality, where he's got a plan in place and he's going to execute it. I think he was working out with Sam Hubbard and some of those guys during the offseason, and they were really impressed by him. So just, he's a rookie, but he's got that pro mentality. And that's a great thing to have."

Smith has long arms (35.5-inches) and he's a good enough athlete to be an NFL starter. Can he continue to put on good weight? Will he be able to make the leap from a small school to the NFL in year one? 

Those questions will be easier to answer when the preseason starts, but he's off to a good start.

Make sure you bookmark AllBengals for the latest training camp news, including exclusive interviews, highlights and so much more!

You May Also Like:

Joe Burrow Not Expected to Play in Bengals' First Preseason Game

Joe Burrow Keeping Expectations in Check as Recovery Continues

Joe Mixon Bullish on Bengals' Offense: "Everybody Should Be Excited"

A look at Frank Pollack's Wide Zone Scheme and How it Will Impact Joe Mixon

The Bengals Don't Seem Worried About Their Lack of Depth at Offensive Tackle

Watch: Highlights From Wednesday's Practice Include Battle in the Trenches

Vonn Bell Praises Bengals' Defense, Likes What He's Seen From Ja'Marr Chase

Watch: Joe Burrow Connects With Ja'Marr Chase Deep Downfield

Mike Hilton Offers Up Big-Time Praise for Jessie Bates

Camp Notes: Joe Burrow and the Offense Continues to Struggle

Watch Practice Highlights of Jessie Bates, Ja'Marr Chase and More

Trae Waynes, Fred Johnson Dealing With Injuries

Ja'Marr Chase Impressing Coaches and Teammates With His Football Intelligence

Bengals Legend: Joe Burrow is "Better Than I Ever Was"

A.J. Green Off to an Impressive Start for the Arizona Cardinals

Watch: Video Breakdown from Bengals Training Camp

Watch Highlights from Day 4 of Bengals Training Camp

Veteran Offensive Linemen Have Early Training Camp Lead in Battle for Starting Job

Watch Highlights from Day 3 of Bengals Training Camp

Read More

Film Breakdown: Why Ja'Marr Chase Has a Chance to be Special

Jessie Bates "Super Eager" to Agree to Contract Extension With Bengals

Joe Burrow Wants to Play in Preseason Games

Zero Dark Thirty: Joe Burrow Exits Social Media For Duration of Training Camp

Day One: Three Observations From Bengals Training Camp Practice

Will Jackson Carman Start For the Bengals in Week 1?

The Bengals Should Be Interested in Disgruntled Cornerback Xavien Howard

Mike Brown Bullish on O-Line: They're Going to "Surprise People"

A Breakdown of the Bengals Toughest Games on the 2021 Schedule

Three Down Look: Bengals Defense Under Pressure to Create Pressure

Joe Burrow Fully Cleared, But Don't Expect to See Him in the Preseason

Watch: Ja'Marr Chase Makes Amazing One-Handed Catch

Ken Anderson Has Big-Time Praise for Joe Burrow

Sam Hubbard on Joe Burrow: "Nobody is Working Harder"

DJ Reader, Trey Hopkins and Joe Burrow Get Good News

Joe Burrow Expected to be Ready for First Training Camp Practice

Bengals Extend Cincinnati-native Sam Hubbard Before Training Camp

The Quest to Protect Burrow: Bengals Bringing in Super Bowl Champion Center

Film Breakdown: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly for Left Tackle Jonah Williams

Bengals Bolster O-Line With Former Cardinals Center

Bengals Ring of Honor Revealed: The Two Ken's Join the Inaugural Class

Here are the Important Preseason and Training Camp Dates You Need to Know

Bengals Pass Blocking Expected to be Much Improved This Season

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly From Vonn Bell's First Season in Stripes

Mike Brown Praises NFL Legend: 'The Greatest QB I Ever Saw Play'

Former NFL Scout Believes Chase and Burrow Will Have Huge Season

Film Breakdown: DJ Reader Should Be an Impact Player for the Bengals

Join the Faces of Who Dey Nation for Thursday Night Football

-----

Be sure to keep it locked on AllBengals all the time!

Subscribe to the AllBengals YouTube channel
Follow AllBengals on Twitter: @AllBengals

Like and follow AllBengals on Facebook