Plays fast and physical and shows pop and good closing burst when working in pursuit. Does a nice job when he get downhill and attack the line of scrimmage. Shows some ability to fill against the run and make the stop at the point of attack. Plays with a good motor. Shows some comfort in coverage when working in short zones, able to keep things in front of him.
Undersized at the point of attack. Struggles when playing on his heels and asked to get off blocks. Tries to run around blocks in the hole and gets beat by the lead blocker there. Caught get caught out of position at the point of attack, and doesn't show great instincts. Gets caught up in the trash at times when working in pursuit. Lacks sideline to sideline speed and range there. Will whiff on some stops in the open field.
Smith is tough and active that will give you a big hit here and there and can make the occasional play. But he lacks the ideal instincts, speed, size, and range to really project well at the next level. He's someone that will have to shine on special teams to carve out a niche in the pros. A three-year starter that combined for 269 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, 2 picks, 8 forced fumbles, and 5 recoveries in that span.
Smith can play MLB at the next level, but doesn't have the speed, range or instincts to make a team love him there. He could also play ILB in a 3-4, but because he's not as good taking on blockers, he'll probably struggle more there than he would in a 4-3. His hope at the pro level will be impacting on special teams to a level where he can carve out a niche as a reserve MLB. You're probably at best hoping that he turns into a Tony Gilbert-esque reserve. But if he's going to get significant minutes on defense, you're probably in trouble. Eventually down the road, he might be an OK stopgap starter that if he has playmakers around him, you can live with for a week or two. But he's not going to be anybody's first choice to fill in. But unless he becomes a special teams ace, he'll have a hard time sticking beyond three or four years, because better players will come along and push him.
Smith could push for a reserve spot in the Falcons rotation at linebacker, but only would make the roster if he was a star on special teams right off the bat. Which is doubtful. Instead, he could potentially land a practice squad role a la Bear Woods this past year, and then a year or two down the road might have developed enough that the coaching staff gives him a chance as the No. 2 MLB. But more than likely he won't be the real backup MLB, instead the team will have one of their OLBs fill that spot if an injury were to happen to Lofton.
Smith isn't worth being drafted, but should be brought to camp as a free agent to see if he can do something.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 2.0
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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