The Philadelphia Eagles signed undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Prince Smith following the 2020 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about him, I reached out to New Hampshire Wildcats writer. Roger Brown of New Hampshire Football Report was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) Can you recap his college career?
Smith was a four-year starter for New Hampshire and was selected as the Colonial Athletic Association’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016, when he recorded a team-high five interceptions. He played in 36 games over his final three seasons and made 29 starts during that span. He seemed to level off in some areas as a junior, but rebounded and was named the team’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player following his senior season. He finished third on the team in tackles (64), second in interceptions (three) and second in pass breakups (seven) as a senior. He capped his career by returning a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown against Maine, New Hampshire’s top rival. He also helped New Hampshire qualify for the FCS playoffs during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
2) What are his strengths?
His No. 1 strength might be his competitiveness. Smith is always going to compete hard, no matter the situation. He’s a strong, physical player who seemed to like the challenge of going one-on-one with receivers. Unlike many good cover corners, Smith is willing to help stop the run. New Hampshire often had him play press coverage against a split receiver on the tight end side of the field, where a cornerback can’t shy away from defending the run. Good tackler.
3) What are his weaknesses?
New Hampshire defensive coordinator John Lyons will tell you that there were times when Smith wasn’t always the most consistent player with regard to proper technique. Other than that there’s not much to criticize.
4) Are you surprised he went undrafted?
No, primarily because New Hampshire’s Pro Day wasn’t held because of Covid-19. I think Pro Days being cancelled hurt many FCS players since only six from that level were selected in the NFL Draft. Smith projected to be a late-round pick or a target as an undrafted free agent. The fact that Philadelphia assistant coach Dino Vasso played at New Hampshire probably had a lot to do with Smith landing with the Eagles.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
New Hampshire is a quality program that has sent its share of players to the NFL, so it won’t come as a surprise here if Smith makes Philadelphia’s roster. His competitive nature plus the fact that he’s a physical corner who’s good in coverage should give him a chance to carve out a successful pro career.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
Smith is exceptionally strong for his size/position. In the summer before his senior season he squat-lifted 495 pounds, which broke the program’s record for a defensive back by 20 pounds.
BLG’s take: The Eagles paid Smith the ninth highest guarantee out of their 13 UDFA signings. He likely tops out at competing for a spot on the practice squad. Doesn’t hurt that he potentially has a backer in the form of the aforementioned Vasso.