Jay Glazer has completed his training camp visit to Mankato and he has some observations. Glazer shared a couple of these quick notes on Twitter including a blurb about Harrison Smith:
Leaving Minny. Vikings have a very well balanced team. I think Harrison Smith will be their next breakout star. Dude is a stud
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 1, 2013
Glazer’s assessment of Smith’s potential to become a future big-time star is dead-on. It isn’t just about Smith being a stud. We know he is a stud but it’s more than that. I think Smith is set up perfectly in the Vikings system to maximize his potential.
Smith’s greatest asset as a safety is his versatility. He doesn’t necessarily do any one thing brilliantly but he does almost everything well. He can cover. He has good instincts. He is a sure tackler with improving technique. He can come up and stick a dude. He even got to show a little blitzing ability late last season (that I hope we see more of in 2013).
How does this versatility help Smith? In the Vikings’ system, safeties are required to do a little bit of everything. There’s no delineation really between the strong and free positions. As Alan Williams explained, the Vikings look at their safeties not in terms of strong and free or right and left but just as football players.
Smith is the perfect player for this jack-of-all-trades approach to safety. He’s a good deep guy and a good in-the-box guy. So he will show up all over the field and have an impact on almost every defensive series. This will allow him to rack up stats and make the kind of highlight reel plays that create breakout stars.
So yes, Glazer is right on in his assessment of Smith. In fact I think you can make the argument that in just his second year Smith is already the Vikings’ best all-around defensive player. Rick Spielman made some good draft picks in 2012 and when all is said and done we may look back on Smith as the greatest of those finds.