Whenever a projected first-round draft pick falls in the NFL Draft due to injury concerns alone, he becomes a steal if he’s able to stay healthy. Well, one day into training camp, former Tennessee football offensive lineman Trey Smith looks like he could fit that mold.
Smith was considered the Vols’ best draft prospect entering the 2020 season, but a history of medical issues dropped the three-time All-SEC guard to the sixth round, even though he hasn’t had those issues since 2019. The Kansas City Chiefs were the ones to take the chance.
After their first practice, Smith was reportedly working with the first-team linemen, according to McKenzie Nelson of KSHB Sports. Smith was one of two rookies practicing with the first team, the other being second-round draft pick Creed Humphrey.
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Make no mistake, this is a big deal. The Chiefs had issues on their line last year, and they showed in particular in the Super Bowl. To deal with those issues, they signed All-Pro guard Joe Thuney from the New England Patriots and two-time Pro Bowler Orlando Brown Jr. from the Baltimore Ravens in addition to adding Humphrey and Smith.
Brown and Thuney both practicing with the first team shows that this wasn’t just about the Chiefs giving young guys a chance. Returning offensive lineman Mike Remmers practicing with them shows that it wasn’t about them just getting a look at the new guys either.
It looks like the Chiefs are just going forward with full confidence in all of their offseason roster additions to improve their line, and that gives Smith a huge opportunity to be a draft steal. All the evidence points to them being committed to him.
In addition to working with the first team, though, Smith was turning heads with his play. Thuney, the second most experienced player on the line, singled him out specifically. Here’s what he said when it comes to Smith.
"“He’s really strong, he’s physical, he’s smart, he studies his playbook really hard. Everyone is communicating up there on the O-Line, but he’s doing a great job, and it’s just great to be part of this group.”"
That’s another big deal. It appears as if Smith is in position to be another Tennessee football player who is a major steal for an NFL franchise, something that has been a common theme for the program the past decade.
If Smith can stay in the rotation, he’s in great shape to thrive early. After all, he’s now starting next to an All-Pro, a Pro Bowler and a 10-year veteran, and he’ll be blocking for the most potent offense in the league. This is a great position for him to be in as a sixth-round pick.