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NFL Draft Profile: Ainias Smith, Wide Receiver, Texas A&M Aggies

NFL Draft profile scouting report for Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith

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#0
Pos: WR
Ht: 5095
Wt: 190
DOB: 05/31/
Hometown: Missouri City, TX
High School: Fort Bend Dulles
Eligibility: 2023

Ainias Smith
Texas A&M Aggies


One-Liner:

One of college football’s most exciting and versatile players, Ainias Smith can be an early-round pick at receiver or running back; he is an advanced route runner with special ability after the catch.

Evaluation:

Standing out among the multiple NFL prospects that comprised Texas A&M’s star-studded 2020 offense would be difficult for any player. Nonetheless, Ainias Smith, in his first season at running back, was one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the country during his sophomore year. The Texas native boasts a flexible frame that enables him to make sharp and sudden changes of direction. What’s more, he is explosive in all directions and exhibits breakaway speed. While he is still adapting to his new position, Smith already flashes notable vision and plays off of his blocks at a high level. His movement skills allow him to attack any gap. Smith anticipates contact and sets defenders up before employing head fakes, body language and jab steps to precede his cuts. The Texas A&M star also has the lower body strength, flexibility and balance to run through tackles. The former receiver’s most appealing trait may be his versatility to line up in the backfield, in the slot and out wide for the Aggies. A stellar route runner, Smith uses head movement, body language, jab steps and pace changes to create windows. Further, Smith uses hands to keep contact off his frame and physicality to separate at the top of the route stem. When attacking zone coverage, he adjusts his speed to find space and stay open. The offensive weapon boasts reliable hands at the catch point. Although Smith is still growing as a blocker, he improved throughout the season. He now plays with sound weight distribution while drawing power from leverage and his lower body. Although the exciting playmaker’s well-rounded skill set makes him an intriguing option on draft day, NFL teams may see his versatility as an indication that he is a “tweener.” Smith is undersized for the running back position; however, he has not been listed as a wide receiver since the 2019 season. His lack of experience at any one offensive position has, consequently, left his game incomplete in certain areas. First and foremost, Smith has very little experience in pass protection. He was insufficient as a blocker early in the 2020 season. Specifically, his weight distribution was questionable and reduced his efficacy. Even after refining this area of his game, the playmaker’s power remains underwhelming. As a runner, Smith’s lack of experience makes his vision between the tackles an unknown. Additionally, the Texas A&M standout has not proven he can beat press from the slot or out wide. Smith is slowed by contact to his frame as a route runner and regularly struggles against long and physical defensive backs. What’s more, the talented playmaker allows the ball too far into his frame and is unable to consistently box out at the catch point. One of college football’s most exciting players, Ainias Smith’s versatile skill set makes him a possible early-round selection regardless of position. While he projects as a running back at the next level, he should be deployed both out of the backfield and as a slot receiver in the NFL to maximize the mismatches he can create. Smith is an immediate impact player who can develop into a game-changer that defensive coordinators specifically plan for. 

Grade:

3rd Round

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Background:

Born May 31st in Sugar Land, Texas, Ainias Williams was a do-it-all star for Fort Bend Dulles High School. The stellar athlete’s impact in each phase of the game is exemplified by his senior year statistics. In the final season of his high school career, Smith recorded two passing touchdowns, 481 rushing yards, ten rushing touchdowns, 718 receiving yards, ten receiving touchdowns, one kick return touchdown, three interceptions and one defensive touchdown. In recognition of his stellar campaign, the Sugar Land native was named District Co-MVP and was a finalist for the UIL Offensive Player of the Year (Houston Touchdown Club). Smith also stood out with his impressive athletic testing. As a high school student, he recorded a 4.51-second forty-yard dash, a 4.00-second short shuttle and a 36.4” vertical jump. Now a running back-wide receiver hybrid, 247Sports Composite Rankings listed Smith as a three-star athlete and cornerback recruit. The same outlet named him the 783rd-best player nationally, the 48th-ranked athlete in his class and the 98th-overall player in Texas. Upon arriving at Texas A&M, the then-wide receiver was an immediate contributor on offense and special teams. He played in 12 games, starting three. The offensive weapon earned Special Teams Newcomer, Special Teams Impact and Specialist Strength Awards at the annual team banquet. Smith transitioned from wide receiver to running back before Texas A&M’s 2019-2020 bowl game, The Texas Bowl. His success in the role led the Aggies to move him to the new position completely. By his sophomore season, the Texas A&M roster listed the Sugar Land native as a running back. The move paid off. Smith was named to the Hornung Award Watch List prior to the season. He played in all ten of the team’s games, starting six. He posted 43 receptions for a team-leading 564 receiving yards. His six receiving touchdowns were tied for the best among the Aggies. Smith also put up 293 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on 49 carries. His ten total touchdowns led the team.