A former Tennessee Vols standout could end up being the biggest steal of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Offensive lineman Trey Smith, a former five-star recruit from Jackson, TN, was selected in the sixth round (No. 226 overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Smith was a member of the All-SEC first team in 2019 and 2020. He started 42 games for the Volunteers during his four-year career on Rocky Top.
So why did a first-team All-SEC selection with 42 starts to his credit fall all the way to the sixth round?
It all comes down to Smith’s past history with blood clots.
Smith was shut down in 2018 after a career-threatening blood clot issue was discovered. Smith, however, battled back and was one of the top players in the SEC over his final two seasons in Knoxville.
Less than a year ago, Smith was predicted in several mock drafts (including this one from 247Sports) as a late first-round pick.
The 2020 season could’ve gone better for the Vols, but Smith still played well. There was certainly no reason for him to go from a potential first-round pick to a sixth-round pick.
Smith’s blood clots were obviously what scared teams away.
But the Chiefs weren’t scared away at all by the blood clots. They vetted Smith’s medical condition and they were satisfied with the findings.
“We feel completely comfortable where he’s at medically to play for us,” said Chiefs director of football operations Mike Borgonzi (via 247Sports).
“As far as why he was still on the board, I’ll leave that to the other teams, but we had the most confidence in Rick Burkholder and Dr. Mike Monaco,” said Kansas City director of pro personnel Tim Terry. “They did a lot of research, a lot of work, did all the due diligence in searching out everything from his medical history standpoint, and we feel really comfortable and confident that we’re getting a good young man”
Getting a first-round talent in the sixth round is ridiculous value for the Chiefs.
And what’s great about Smith is that he isn’t just a terrific football player — he’s also an incredible person with great character. Smith is the type of player that’s going to work hard, be an asset to the community, and make everyone around him better.
Kansas City’s selection of Smith won’t be widely celebrated by most media outlets, but it was absolutely one of the best picks in the draft.
Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports