The 2018 NFL Draft began Thursday night in Arlington, Texas. Auburn guard Braden Smith was picked Friday by the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 37 pick overall, going in the second round.
Smith was as consistent as they came for Auburn, starting in three straight seasons as one of the most all-around dominant offensive linemen in recent school history. Here are five things you need to know about the Auburn big man:
1. Braden Smith started 41 straight games at Auburn
Smith played in 53 games for the Tigers, starting in 41 straight. After playing mostly as the Tigers’ “sixth man” on the offensive line as a freshman in 2014, Smith took over as Auburn’s right guard in 2015. He played both tackle and guard during his days on the Plains, and he excelled at run blocking and pass protecting.
2. Braden Smith was best blocker in SEC in 2017
Smith ended his four-year career at Auburn by winning the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, which is given annually to the top offensive lineman in the SEC. That award went along with Smith’s All-America honors from nearly every outlet and his first-team All-SEC selection. He graded out as one of the best offensive linemen in the country last season and will hit the NFL draft as an elite player.
3. Braden Smith came to Auburn from unlikely place
Auburn has long concentrated its recruiting efforts on Alabama and its two biggest border states, Georgia and Florida. But Smith was a pickup from Olathe, Kan., where he chose the Tigers over several Big 12 schools. Smith was an overnight sensation at Auburn, earning nicknames such as “The Terminator” and “Drago” as a freshman.
4. Braden Smith will be starter-quality draft selection
Both ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock agree Smith will have a great chance to start from Day 1 in the NFL for whichever team drafts him. Smith’s biggest attribute is his strength, as he put up an incredible 35 reps on the bench press at the NFL combine. That physical ability has experts believing Smith won’t have a problem at all going up against NFL defensive linemen as a rookie.
5. Braden Smith comes from family of athletes
Top-notch athleticism runs in Smith’s family. His father, Davis, played football and ran track at Kansas, while his sister was a thrower on the track and field team at TCU. Smith is also engaged to Courtney Shea, who is currently a senior catcher for Auburn’s softball team.