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Trey Smith appears in 2021 NFL Mock Draft

He would be the first Tennessee offensive lineman drafted since 2014.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Tennessee has struggled up front (and everywhere else, really) for the better part of the last decade. Perhaps this stat will drive that point home — Tennessee hasn’t had an offensive lineman drafted in the NFL since 2014.

2014! That’s wild.

Trey Smith is here to change that. The rising senior guard opted to come back to school after a successful comeback season in 2019. Smith battled blood clots in his lungs, which ended up costing him an offseason of work and several games during his sophomore season. After shaking off some rust to start 2019, Smith settled in as one of the most impactful linemen in the entire country.

Now Smith is one of the top senior talents in the nation. Another healthy season should solidify his status as a top prospect for next year’s draft. How high can he go? That likely depends on what teams think of his medicals. A recent mock draft from Bleacher Report believes he will make it into the first round, however.

Smith landed at No. 24 overall to the Minnesota Vikings.

Guards don’t often warrant first-round consideration. Only special interior blockers hear their names called in the opening frame with just three selected there in the last five drafts. Tennessee’s Trey Smith has the skill set to dominate at the next level.

The 6-6, 335 pounder is a former five-star prospect who started from day one in Knoxville. His career began at guard before kicking out to tackle as a sophomore. After Tennessee inked two five-star tackles in 2019, Smith went back inside to guard for his junior season. That seems to be where he’s at his best.

Tennessee will lean on him once again this season. The Volunteers have a rare chance to return five starters up front and will likely look to lean on their rushing attack offensively. That’s going to give Smith plenty of opportunities to dominate once again, who really just has to stay healthy at this point to cement his status as a top prospect.