Steve Smith, a senior out of USC, might be the strongest wide receiver available to the Vikings with the #41 pick. The problem is that the way Smith demonstrated his strength might be enough of a reason for the behavior-conscious Vikings to draft a different receiver with question marks. Not only did he break
Now, if the Vikings decide that the incident in question (which Pete Carroll felt did not require disciplinary actions) was not something that would happen again and decided to take Smith, they’d be getting a receiver with soft hands, good speed (4.40 forty time) and four years in a pro style offense at USC. He has also shown the toughness necessary to go over the middle, the ability to avoid tackles in the open field and a willingness to block in the running game. His blocking was one of the reasons that Reggie Bush was able to break so many long runs.
Smith does have some big question marks, however. He stands a shade under 6 feet and weighs 195lbs, and did not demonstrate the speed on the field that he did in workouts. Short receivers that have success in the NFL are usually very fast, something he may not be on game day. And even when they are, they are not their team’s #1 receiver. Aside from the Panther’s Steve Smith, no receiver under 6 foot is on the top of their team’s depth chart. And Smith’s size also leads to questions about whether he’ll be able to handle big, physical corners, something that would be even more problematic if the concerns about his speed are true. To make it worse, he’s never been the #1 receiver on his team, having played opposite Dwayne Jarrett and Michael Williams.
More likely than not, there will be a better receiver available to the Vikings in the second round. Smith’s lack of size, his character issues and the questions about his speed make him too much of a risk, since his upside is that of a #2 receiver at best.