INDIANAPOLIS —Morocco Brown, the Indianapolis Colts' Director of College Scouting, talked to reporters following the 2018 NFL Draft about what he saw in guard Braden Smith, the Colts' second-round (37th-overall) pick this year:
What did you see in Braden Smith?
"I think the theme — and Chris (Ballard) had alluded to it leading up to the draft, if you just go back and listen — we really wanted to upgrade both sides of the ball on the front. Because in the NFL, if you can't block the opposing team, or if you're on defense and you can't be blocked, then either way, you're in trouble — or the other team's in trouble. I think that was the emphasis that we harped on, and we were picking high in the rounds so fortunately we were able to get those types of players. But Braden, he was just that: he's smart, tough and physical at the end of the day. So if it's three things you want to say about him, those would be the three things I'd say. And he's a guy that can reset the line of scrimmage, he can get a surge and push people, he's tough, as I already said. And the thing about the two guards that we were able to get early is they're not scheme-dependent, so whether you're running the zone stretch with a little bit of inside-outside zone or whether you're running a power gap scheme, either one of those guys can play in either one. And usually the top players are not scheme-dependent players, so that was what was attractive with those guys."
Is Smith a Day 1 starter at guard as a rookie?
"Yeah, I'd say on paper you want to say that, but it's like the NFL is every year at every position: it's up for grabs for whoever. So you can pencil him in, but you still gotta earn your job."
Does he have any flexibility along the line?
"You know what? In college, they tinkered with him in the spring, last spring, at right tackle, but I think the right tackle they had there actually came along and it more sense to just leave him where he is. But he has played it; you'll see him going in some jumbo tight end, as well. So, yes, he does have the flex, and that's why you like an athlete, because they give you position versatility."
He seems like he could play multiple positions.
"Body-wise, he looks like a polar bear that could fill up that door. So you always look for flex, but usually the better players — I mean, you just want a dominant player at one position, and then if someone gets injured, if you can move around the line, that's just gravy for you."