2021 NFL Draft: Diamond in the Rough-Wide Receiver

For the second year in a row there is a draft class that is stocked to the brim with wide receiver talent, but throughout all the talent there is a prospect I feel has slipped through the cracks. That prospect being, South Carolina’s Shi Smith. Smith is a speedster from the SEC who provides an explosive element to the Gamecock’s offense.


Shi Smith stands at 5’10” 190 lbs, so he isn’t the biggest receiver. However, he is the same height as Brandin Cooks, TY Hilton and Antonio Brown, and actually weighs more than all three of them, so his size shouldn’t be the biggest concern. His speed is what really stands out on tape and he got a chance to show that when he ran a 4.33u forty yard dash at the South Carolina Pro Day.


Shi Smith is a speedster who has proven he can take the top off the defense, but he has also proven he has the physicality and route running prowess to make plays at all levels of the field. He is a much better jump ball receiver than most would think at 5’10”. He is physical in his breaks and after the catch, he is decisive about where he moves. He is slot and outside capable too.

Closing Thoughts

Smith is more than a one trick pony and should be viewed as a versatile chess piece for any offensive scheme. His speed is his calling card but he is a willing jump ball receiver and has shown the physicality to be effective at all levels of the field. He had a great week at the Senior Bowl and proved himself against some of the best talent in the country. He will do best with a coach that can unlock his potential and will probably fit best in a vertical passing scheme.

Best Fits

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are in a new era with Carson Wentz at the helm and they need to start building around him. A rotation of T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell, and Shi Smith would be deadly and would bring a lot of variables to the Colts offense.

Green Bay Packers

The Packers are always in need of a wide receiver and at this point we know they refuse to use a first round pick on one so they’ll look to the later rounds for receiver talent. Shi Smith could learn from Marquez Valdes-Scantling about how to be an effective speedster.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are another team that are in perpetual need of receivers and we have seen how much they value speed with the like of Marquise Brown and Devin Duvernay, so why not add Smith into the mix. The Ravens could use him as a run after catch speedster while Duvernay and Brown stretch the field.

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