For all the buzz about Humphrey being such a brilliant playmaker himself, Smith has been an even greater story (and find for Veach) due to the fact that he fell all the way to the sixth round.
Smith entered the NFL Draft as an absolute mauler out of the University of Tennessee with early round talent. Unfortunately he also had late-round medicals. Blood clot concerns that crept in during his college career—and were once a real concern that kept him off the field—likely knocked Smith down draft boards (or off of them completely), which allowed the Chiefs to pick up Smith in the sixth round.
It was a move that made everyone else look foolish.
Since his arrival in K.C., he’s grabbed the starting right guard role and not let go. He’s just behind Humphrey in terms of metrics from PFF at No. 4 overall among every rookie graded so far in 2021. He’s dominated veterans and proven to be the sort of nightmare matchup inside that can create an unbelievable push in the run game.
Even more, and this isn’t any intended slight to Humphrey, but Smith passes the eye test as great as any rookie in recent memory. He’s just the sort of mauler that makes someone laugh out loud. He’s had numerous jaw-dropping blocks in which he absolutely flattens the defender, and there’s no denying his tenacity up front.
If Thuney is the quietly brilliant performer, Smith is the angry monster on the other side, with Humphrey serving as a hybrid of the two in the middle. Each man deserves to be taken serious as a Pro Bowl performer, and taken together, they form perhaps the single greatest interior in the entire NFL.