Saints put first-round CB prospect Cam Smith through private workout
This is intriguing; NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the New Orleans Saints ran a private workout for South Carolina cornerback Cam Smith, one of the top players at his position in the 2023 NFL draft. Corner doesn’t look like a serious need for the Saints at first glance, with a bevy of highly-drafted players like Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo, and Alontae Taylor on the roster as well as veteran backup Bradley Roby, who signed an extension last summer.
But looks can be deceiving. Lattimore missed 11 games with a complicated injury last season. Roby has had injury concerns too, and he’s been inconsistent enough when healthy that Taylor is already pushing him for his starting job. Plus, the Saints haven’t adequately replaced C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the slot since his trade a year ago. A new player could earn that role quickly.
And wouldn’t you know it, but Smith just saw extensive time in the slot for the Gamecocks for the first time in his college career. He lined up there on 33% of his defensive snaps (196 of his 591 total), a new personal-high, though he has much more experience lining up outside. It’s possible the Saints wanted to have him run some slot-specific drills and get an idea of how he could perform in a full-time role from that alignment.
Smith was also used as a pass rusher for the first time at the college level in 2022, racking up at least one pressure in four consecutive games against SEC opponents like Texas A&M and Kentucky. Saints head coach Dennis Allen has always liked to throw off opponents with a defensive back blitz from time to time (it’s something Gardner-Johnson did well, as did Vonn Bell, Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, and P.J. Williams before him).
Additionally, they didn’t have a complete scouting report on him because Smith didn’t finish his agility drills — like the three-cone drill and the pro shuttle — at the NFL scouting combine. Getting more comprehensive numbers on him could have been their goal here, too. We may never find out. Or we could learn their intentions quickly come draft day.
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