STRENGTHS - Smith has a long, lanky build with the arm length NFL coaches love for the position. He demonstrates the straight line speed needed to stay with most receivers when playing man coverage on downfield routes. When his weight is properly over his feet and he is playing with good knee bend, he shows the ability to flip his hips fluidly in transition.
WEAKNESSES - Smith has narrow hips and will need to add significant bulk to his frame. He struggles with big WRs, as he lacks the physicality needed to jam at the break point and tends to give free releases off the LOS. His tendency to bail early allows him man to make too many uncontested catches in front of him. Although he shows good long speed, he lacks the quick twitch explosion needed to break and close effectively from off and zone coverages. This issue is further exposed by his poor technique in man coverage, as his upright, choppy pedal leads to him consistently losing a step in transition. Georgia subbed him out in red zone situations and did not use him inside in nickel situations in large part because of his lack of involvement against the run.
SUMMARY - Although Branden Smith has the length and speed that teams love at the CB position, his poor technique and small frame limit his effectiveness in all types of coverage, and make him a liability against the run. Because he can't physically compete with bigger receivers, he tends to bail off the POA early, allowing too much separation between himself and his man that he is unable to make up. He tends to get his weight too far back on his heels which makes him stiff and sluggish in transition, allowing his man to gain consistent separation coming out of his breaks. Against the run he is not competitive against blockers and tends to become a spectator. He is likely to get an opportunity as a free agent to prove his skills in an NFL training camp, but unless he adds significant muscle mass and improves his technique and competitiveness, he is unlikely to ever make a final roster.