New York Giants: A mid-round receiving threat to keep an eye on at the Senior Bowl

New York Giants, Shi Smith
Jan 26, 2021; Mobile, Alabama, USA; American wide receiver Shi Smith of South Carolina (13) drills during National team practice during the 2021 Senior Bowl week. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants love to draft Senior Bowl standouts. Down in Mobile, Alabama, this week, the Senior Bowl is underway. Plenty of lesser-known draft prospects are showing up and showing out in an attempt to boost their draft stocks. Through the first few Senior Bowl practices, a couple of players have already made their presence known.

This year’s wide receiver group at the Senior Bowl is particularly interesting for the New York Giants. The New York Giants are in need of reinforcements on offense. Dave Gettleman and John Mara vowed to add playmakers to the offensive side of the ball this offseason.

This promise to find playmakers has Giants fans mightily excited. Many fans and analysts alike have mocked top wide receivers to the Giants at eleven overall in their mock drafts. But some fans and analysts are a bit contrarian and predict that New York will spend their first-round pick on another position, maybe on defense. If that is the case, then the Giants will need to do one of two things: sign a top-tier wide receiver in free agency or hit on a gem in the later rounds of the NFL Draft.

One wide receiver at the Senior Bowl has been making his name known during practice week. Shi Smith out of South Carolina is standing out amongst the talented receiver options in Mobile this week and could be a target for the Giants in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Shi Smith stats and highlights

Shi Smith is a senior who played four years of collegiate football at South Carolina. In his senior year, though, Smith saw his role increase and elevated his game to another level. In 2020, Shi Smith played 9 games and totaled 633 receiving yards with 4 receiving touchdowns.

Smith projects primarily as a slot receiver in the NFL. He is listed at 5 feet 10 inches, 186 pounds, but works better from the slot with a cushion between him and the defender. Shi also has excellent body control, allowing him to make some spectacular catches.

What really turned heads at the Senior Bowl this week was Shi Smith’s route running. Shi was creating tons of separation on his routes against some of the Senior Bowl’s best cornerbacks.

Superb route running is far more translatable to NFL success than the ability to make contested catches. If Smith can separate this well at the next level, he will be a late-round steal for whatever team selects him in the NFL Draft.