West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood was still sitting on the board in the fifth round because of some trouble he had been in a couple of years ago. While in high school, he was accused of witness-tampering in a murder case.
I think the young man made the mistake of hanging around the wrong people for a short period of time during his youth. He came clean about it to reporters yesterday and I believe him. Howie Roseman said the Birds had looked into it and accepted the youngsters explanation.
The key for Smallwood will be learning the west coast system. He’s a speedy and tough playmaker, who can get it done when he gets the football in his hands.
In the 2015 season, Smallwood ran for 1,519 yards on 238 attempts, which is a 6.4-yard per carry average. The kid is explosive to say the least. He caught 26 passes for 160 yards, which is a 6.2 yard per catch average.
All he’s got to do is gain the confidence of the coaching staff that he knows what he is doing in this offense. He’s the kind of playmaker that the Birds will try to get the ball to by lining him up all over the place.
Smallwood must know what his assignment is on running plays, pass plays and most importantly, who to block on blitz-pick up. Mistakes on blitz pickup by young running backs, keep them on the bench.
The young man is well put together with tremendous speed and quickness. He has the physical skills to play right now, as soon as he catches up to things mentally, he will be put into the lineup.