10 Tackles in 21 Days: Tackle #10 Donovan Smith

C3 is taking a look at 10 Offensive Tackles that the Panthers could end up with on Draft Day.  This series will bring you 10 possible Tackles all over the next 21 days.  We will give you some little known information and some tape to check out.  One of the many reasons that I"m obsessed with the NFL Draft is because of the stories these kids bring to the forefront.  These are young men that are pursuing life-long dreams and chasing life-changing opportunities. Hopefully you will gain some insight into the prospects and can find a few that you fall in love with and root for.  

Before Draft Day we will also look at WRs, DBs, DTs, TEs and LBs but we start with OTs.  Why? Two reasons:  First, our LT ranked second to last in the League according to our friends at  www.ProFootballFocus.com and second is because anytime I pick someone other than a Tackle first in my mock drafts, the first question from Panther Nation is "why didn't you get a Tackle?  We need a Tackle."  So we are going after Tackles first.  I hope you enjoy.

The first Tackle I would like to look at is one that could be there in the mid-rounds (3 - 5).  This red shirt Junior out of Penn State has a lot of upside and could fit nicely.

#10 Donovan Smith     Penn State        6’6     341

This is a true Hog-Mollie that has three years (31 games) of starting LOT experience.  At 341 lbs., he is surprisingly well-proportioned and light on his feet.   We earned his degree in Criminology and may surprise some folks come Draft Day.  His home town is Owings Mills, MD and has admittedly had ups and downs in his career at Penn State.  As a Sophomore, he anchored a line that averaged scoring 23 points per game and 350 yards per game.  Over his career, he held his own against some top-level talent.  Watch this tape against my Number 8 Prospect Randy Gregory.  

He immediately looks like an upgrade to Byron Bell to me.  He does have long arms and broad shoulders which will play well at the next level.  In the run game, he also has the ability to get out to the second level and would open holes for Jonathan Steward and company.  The only real knock I have seen is he can lose position against some speed-rushers and his hand positioning could use some work.  But is all coachable technique and not lack of flexibility or ability.  

Having a great Sr. Bowl week (though with still a year of eligibility) gave him a platform to show NFL coaches and scouts what he is made of and he was thankful for it.


And he did not squander his opportunity.  He did receive high praise from a lot of folks.

I actually see him as a Jeff Otah type of Tackle (powerful and athletic) and a real difference maker on the right side of the line.  No history of Otah-type injuries though.  How powerful is he?  He bench presses over 400 lbs and squats over 500 lbs.  He would be great next to Trai Turner on the right side of the Panthers line.

An ideal spot for Smith would be the Third Round to the Panthers after they previously draft Ereck Flowers in the First Round.  These two together would be "bookend tackles" for years to come and would immediately upgrade the Panthers line.  This will help the Panthers run the ball better and will give Cam an extra second or two to make his reads, to feel more comfortable and to step into his throws.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Donovan Smith and you can follow him on Twitter at