Tennessee Volunteers offensive guard Trey Smith is a hulking, athletic mauler who measures in at 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds.
His path to the NFL has been far from easy. He lost his mother when he was 15 to heart complications, and medical issues plagued his career with the Volunteers as well. A team doctor discovered blood clots in his lungs in 2018, and he missed much of his sophomore season as a result.
“I’m extremely blessed to be in this position. A lot of people thought I wouldn’t be a couple years ago,” Smith said. “I’m just taking every day in stride, thanking God for the ability to be here.”
Despite those trials, Smith received a first team all-SEC nod in each of the last two seasons. In a pre-draft process like no other because of the cancelled NFL combine and other adjustments in the face of COVID-19, Smith said that the Senior Bowl played a big role in his development.
A Cerebral Player
Though his physical prowess jumps off the page, it was his mind for football and ability to learn that Smith emphasized in interviews.
“[There were] a lot of learning lessons I had there, especially with technique,” Smith said. “As the week progressed I got a lot better with it and I was able to master a lot of the things I struggled with.”
He acquitted himself well in Mobile and following the Senior Bowl projected as an early Day 2 pick. Mobility is a concern for him, but he could climb even higher if he tests well at his pro day workout.
Although pre-draft interviews serve as a way for NFL teams to evaluate prospects, Smith said he’s asked teams questions to better himself as well.
“I try to end every Zoom [meeting] that I have with ‘what can I do better as a player’, ‘what can I get better at,’” Smith said. “At the end of the day it’s just about getting better as a player, and I love getting the feedback, because these are the people that are going to be my future employers.”
While Smith wouldn’t disclose what teams he’s talked to, he did mention his relationship with fellow Vols grad and Steelers stalwart left guard Ramon Foster.
“Ramon is definitely a dude I look up to: West Tennessee guy, someone I always heard about growing up,” Smith said. “Getting knowledge and information from a veteran that played in the NFL that long, I want to soak it up like a sponge.”
Guard is the Steelers strongest position on a weak offensive line. With David DeCastro and Kevin Dotson slated to start going in to 2021, the Steelers may stray away from Smith because of their many other needs.
However, with his height he could slip outside to tackle, and Smith mentioned that he’d had discussions to that end with NFL teams. In that case, Smith could be in the picture for the Steelers at 55.