On paper, the Green Bay Packers are set at guard. Last year’s returning starters, Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins and Lucas Patrick, are under contract. Plus, the team used sixth-round choices on Jon Runyan and Simon Stepaniak last year. However, if Jenkins or Patrick wind up moving to center, there will be a hole in the lineup, though Runyan showed promise in limited action as a rookie.
Tennessee’s Trey Smith is our No. 3-ranked guard.
The NFL is a man’s game.
Trey Smith is a man.
Never mind his size, strength and dominance as an All-American guard at Tennessee. Smith’s mom died unexpectedly when he was a sophomore in high school. A few years later, during the offseason before his sophomore season with the Vols, he feared he might die when blood clots developed on his lungs.
“That was brutal, because it was like, ‘Dang, am I going to die? Just be real. Am I going to die? What’s going on?’” he said.
Smith sat out spring practice, was back for fall camp and started the first seven games of the 2018 season at left tackle before the blood clots returned.
“We sat down with Trey and his dad and said, ‘Here’s where you are, and here are your risks of recurrent blood clots,’” Vols Dr. Chris Klenck told ESPN. “After that long discussion with everybody involved, they felt good about where we are. He’s doing great, and while they acknowledged there is a risk moving forward, Trey has a good grasp of everything and feels comfortable.”
With a better handle on the blood clots, Smith played in all 13 games with 12 starts at left guard in 2019. Not only did he earn all-SEC accolades but he won the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award and the Fritz Pollard Trophy for his courage off the field and performance on the field.
“I am honored to present the third annual Collegiate Man of the Year to Trey Smith,” Witten said. “He is a truly impressive young man, who is everything you want in a college football player. He has overcome a lot of adversity to become a true leader on his team, on campus and in the community. He is the perfect example of someone who has devoted himself to becoming the very best person he can be, despite going through great personal struggles.”
Smith could have entered the NFL Draft. Instead, he came back for his senior season to honor his mom, Dorsetta Smith, by getting his degree in sport management. He started all 10 games at left guard and earned some All-American accolades.
“(Her passing) completely crushed my world,” Smith told The Knoxville News. “From that point since, I’ve been on a mission to fulfill my promise to her. … “That is one of the things she always emphasized growing up. You have to get an education. That is something they can never take away from you. That is something that has always stuck with me. That is one of my goals in my life, get my education and receive my degree and then play in the NFL.”
Meanwhile, Smith became active in the community by supporting a coat drive led by the Knoxville Area Rescue Ministry.
“There’s no real reason why I do it,” Smith told The Daily Times. “I just don’t like seeing people struggle. I’ve seen some things when I was younger. I just don’t like that. If I can help somebody out, it’s in my nature to help in any way I can.”
Measureables: 6-foot-5 1/2, 321 pounds, 33 5/8-inch arms. 5.09 40, 4.82 shuttle, 32 bench-press reps.
Stats and accolades: According to Pro Football Focus, Smith gave up one sack and six total pressures in 2020 and only one sack over his final two seasons. Sports Info Solutions charged him with zero sacks and only four blown blocks (two runs, two passes) in 10 games. That was a big improvement over the 16 blown blocks in 13 games in 2019. He was flagged twice for holding. He was first-team all-SEC in 2019 and 2020 and earned some second-team All-American honors in 2020. In 2019, he won the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year and Pat Summitt Ignite Greatness awards.
NFL Draft Bible says: He played some tackle as a sophomore, but make no mistake about it, Smith is a potentially dominant fixture on the interior. He uses every inch of his frame covering ground, showing well when moving laterally and to the second level. For a man 331 pounds, Smith is every bit the mauler in the run game that you would envision. There is no lack of raw power. The surprising part is just how fluid of an athlete he is for a man his size. Whether it is as a pass blocker or in the run game, Smith has zero issues redirecting with proper balance and flexibility. He is a sure bet on the field. The big question for him will be the medicals.
About This Series
Packer Central is introducing you to the top prospects, both on and off the field, in this year’s NFL Draft. The series is starting with the top five at each position, then will add additional players as the draft approaches, with a focus on positions of need.