by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics.
The NFL Draft talk never ends, and we are here at Draft 412 in an effort to keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024, we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Penn State, Wide Receiver, KeAndre Lambert-Smith
Name- KeAndre Lambert-Smith
Team- Penn State
HT/WT- 6’1” 188 lbs.
Home – Norfolk, VA
Lambert-Smith was his team’s captain at Maury High School and helped them win their first championship in 80 years. He had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons and was named to the All-American Bowl after his senior season. Lambert-Smith received a consensus 4-star rating from 247 Sports, ESPN and Rivals.
In 2020 as a true freshman, Lambert-Smith appeared in 9 games, making 5 starts. He finished the season with 138 yards on 15 receptions. In 2021, he started all 13 games for the Nittany Lions and had 34 receptions for 521 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The 2022 season saw a drop off in Lambert-Smith’s production. He started in 8 of the 13 games and finished with 24 receptions for 389 yards and 4 touchdowns. In their final game of the season, he hauled in an 88-yard touchdown pass from Sean Clifford, the longest in Rose Bowl history.
Lambert-Smith is a quick-twitch receiver capable of making big plays. He runs routes well with a tempered, deliberate pace and has a “stop and go'' ability that keeps defenders guessing. He’s a smooth and fluid runner who doesn’t appear as quick as he is, excelling in the open field once he receives the ball. He is a willing and effective run blocker, and does a good job of getting off the line of scrimmage against press coverage.
On the downside, Lambert-Smith has had some consistency issues, which led to him not starting every game in 2022. Better opponents have stopped him, taking him out of games, and he needs to work on his route tree. At the next level, he will need to become more efficient on quick hitters and double moves and show more of a compete level for combat catches. He has had drop issues in the past and tends to lose focus on quick hitters. At times, he is too much “all-or-nothing.”
For an NFL comparison, Lambert-Smith looks a lot like LA Rams' wide receiver, Van Jefferson. Lambert-Smith, like Jefferson, gets the ball upfield in a hurry, but has to catch the ball first. He’s a potential big play each time he catches the ball but lacks the consistency to be dependable.
Good pace on routes
A willing and efficient run blocker
Good release against press
Focus/ Drop issues
Needs a bigger route tree
KeAndre Lambert-Smith is a prospect who can use the 2023 season to really help his draft stock. He needs to become a #1 wide receiver this year at Penn State and improve both his consistency in play and drops.
Prediction- 3rd or 4th round pick in 2024.