NFL Analysis


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Chau Smith-Wade 2024 NFL Draft: Combine Results, Scouting Report For Carolina Panthers CB

Nov 12, 2022; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars defensive back Chau Smith-Wade (6) carries the ball after an interception against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft is getting close, making it an excellent time to highlight some of the class' best players with scouting reports. Each report will include strengths, weaknesses and background information. 

Here's our report on Chau Smith-Wade.

Chau Smith Wade's 2024 NFL Combine RESULTS

  • Height: 5-foot-9 ¾”
  • Weight: 184
  • 40-yard dash: 4.54
  • 10-yard split: 1.55
  • Vertical jump: 34.5"
  • Broad jump: 10'5"
  • Arm Length: 30 ¼”



  • Showed natural quickness, loose hips, easy transition and re-direct you want to see at outside corner.
  • Opened his hips easily when turning to run from off-coverage zone alignment. Smooth and fluid movement.
  • Played significant snaps of press bail and showed the transition quickness to drive on routes in front of him.
  • Plant-and-drive burst and explosiveness from off-coverage. Sudden and twitchy movement to impact throw.  
  • Quick, active feet to effectively play mirror-match press man coverage. Flipped and opened his hips easily.
  • Some explosiveness and suddenness to his movements. Feet are active and twitchy with quick, rapid reactions.  
  • Showed aggressiveness and tenacity as a run defender. Quickness to beat blocks and the physicality to tackle


  • Smaller than desired outside corner, lacking length to match up to the bigger receivers at the next level.
  • Took a false step almost every time he was in press man. Resulted in balance and body control issues. 
  • Press man snaps in which he got stuck, stopping his feet, putting him in recovery mode vs. vertical routes.
  • At times, he ran with vertical releases out of mirror-match press and took too many steps to stop, losing contact. 

Jan 31, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; National defensive back Chau Smith-Wade of Washington State (6) signals during practice for the National team at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports


Smith-Wade will be an interesting projection to the next level, given his lack of length. However, he has a strong traits profile to play outside corner. Smith-Wade is less than 5-foot-10, which for most NFL teams would prohibit him from playing on the outside. 

That said, he possesses high-level athleticism with sudden, quick feet and loose, fluid hips with easy transitions and direction changes. That allows him to play mirror-match press man effectively, and he is explosive with plant and drive from off-coverage with the kind of burst not many corners in this draft class have. 

Smith-Wade has almost no experience playing in the slot, but his 2023 tape showed a highly competitive run defender who was always willing to embrace the physical part of the game. That is a trait you need to move inside to the slot.

He possesses the athletic traits to play corner in the NFL, and he has shown he can play press man and off-coverage effectively with his sudden, twitchy movement and loose hips. The question is where does he fit at the next level?

My sense is he will play outside and inside, depending on the team, scheme and opponent, but he will likely begin his career as a high-level backup with the ability to step in if needed.


Smith-Wade was a two-year starter (2022, 2023) at Washington State but only played in seven games in 2023 due to injury. He came out of high school in Chicago as a three-star recruit, having been a running back and defensive back. However, he was recruited to Washington State as a corner. 

Smith-Wade lined up predominantly at left corner, which gave him extensive experience playing to the field and to the boundary, but there were also significant snaps at right corner. 

In 2023, he played almost exclusively on the outside with only six snaps in the slot. Smith-Wade was deployed as a blitzer at times when he was aligned to the boundary.