Man Cover Skills –Shows a nice stab at the LOS to disrupt releases, but he can be guilty of over-striding and putting himself in poorly balanced positions. Does not show a great sense of when breaks are coming and will over-carry vertical stems, allow underneath separation.
Zone Cover Skills –I like him best when he's in bail technique to hinge hips and get depth at the snap. Shows some good anticipation for route exchanges when he can see the whole thing unfolding in front of his face. His click and close ability from off leverage is above average.
Feet/Change of Direction –Feet are a little overactive in the contact window and when he's playing up at the LOS. He can be slow to gear down and will need extra steps relative to his receiver to get himself under control, giving up separation underneath.
Ball Skills –Some of his plays of the football have been terrific. Does well to attack the hands and play through to break up passes as the receiver is going to the ground. Reactionary quickness to flash the hands late as the ball arrives have yielded at least 1 interception (Missouri).
Flexibility –His transitions aren't the smoothest but it doesn't appear to be an account of any physical limitations. Shows good hinge when bailing off of the LOS to stay over the top of routes. Shows only average ability to stay stuck on receivers when flipping his eyes inside.
Acceleration –Does not appear to have any notable vertical burst, he can get run past in off-man situations when receivers have a runway to build momentum. Has adequate long speed, but nothing spectacular and will need designed cushion or help over the top.
Zone Spacing –Does not have the short area explosiveness skills necessary to driving and undercut throws with consistency as he sees things developing. His vertical leverage is conservative but shows good anticipation to close down as QB cocks his arm.
Competitive Toughness –Like his effort level and toughness to play through contact, especially in run support. Shows good willingness to drive forward and get involved. Play strength is very good and can attack the LOS effectively from overhead.
Run Support –He's assertive. Like the extension skills he shows vs. receivers who would wall him off otherwise. Shows good strength in the hands to yank blockers aside and uncover himself into the line of scrimmage. Very strong tackler.
Tackling –He's not the most powerful tackler but he has great results due to good timing when breaking down in space to square up a ball carrier. He gets good wrap below the waist of opponents and is effective in cutting down bigger ball carriers.
BEST TRAIT – Tackling
WORST TRAIT – Feet/COD
BEST FILM – Missouri (2018)
WORST FILM – Auburn (2018)
RED FLAGS – 2019 CFB Playoff leg INJ
Saivion Smith is a former LSU Tiger who spent one year in Baton Rouge, one year in JUCO and one year at Alabama. Smith's physical skill set suggests he can be a regular contributor on the defensive side of the football, but his sloppy technique and poor feel for routes will get the better of him until he's able to further hone his craft in a single setting. Smith projects best in a Cover 3 scheme, where he can use bail technique and protect vertically while keying the quarterback.