Highly Touted NFL Prospect Sees Patriots As Good Fit

The cornerback also models his game after Stephon Gilmore


February 8

The New England Patriots have a sterling reputation for developing cornerbacks and getting the best out of those at the position.

They’ve done it time and time again, whether it’s with undrafted free agents like Malcolm Butler, J.C. Jackson or Jonathan Jones or transforming Stephon Gilmore into an NFL Defensive Player of the Year once he joined the team.

One highly touted NFL prospect has certainly taken notice of the Patriots’ track record with cornerbacks, which is one of the reasons why South Carolina’s Cam Smith believes he would be a good fit with New England.

“I see a lot of the man-to-man teams, like the Patriots and stuff like that,” Smith told the Bleav Network. “I seen how they did (it) with J.C. Jackson. How they just let him play man-to-man and just be on his island and stuff like that. So, teams like that, really, I would like that.”

Smith is seen as one of the top cornerbacks in the draft as Pro Football Focus views him as the third-best player at his position. He had a standout career with the Gamecocks, compiling six interceptions and 24 passes defended over the last three seasons.

The latest mock draft from ESPN’s Matt Miller had Smith falling to the middle of the second round, where he had the Miami Dolphins selecting him at No. 51 overall. That might be good news for the Patriots if they do think Smith could thrive with them. New England could use their first-round pick to address another area of need, like offensive tackle, and then pull the trigger on Smith potentially with their second-round pick at No. 46 overall.

The 6-foot, 188-pound cornerback said he models his game after Gilmore and former South Carolina star Jaycee Horn. And while Smith believes his greatest strength is in man coverage, he thinks he can be an asset in any scheme.

“But I mean, I’m not shying away from no zone teams. No teams that run a lot of cover three and stuff like that,” Smith said. “I’m not shying away from any of that because I can play that regardless. I feel like with my stature, I feel like I should be in somebody’s face.”

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