Coverage - Mobility restrictions are not favorable to consistent results in coverage. Keeping pace with running backs into space is a challenge. Zone drops do not reveal natural skills to anticipate routes and work into throwing lanes.
Tackling - Very consistent and doesn’t often come up empty. Features outstanding contact power and balance while tackling with good form and leverage to not concede yardage after contact. Can extend and make tackles outside his frame.
Blocks - Like his ability to stack and shed blocks. Places his hands, extends and disengages. Adequate ability to slip and work around contact. Hands are active and he finds his way through crowds.
Physicality - Brings the fight to blockers, even offensive linemen that have 80-100 pounds on him. Aggressive tackler that controls himself well at the point of attack.
Motor - He’s certainly an urgent football player that chases hard even though he often lacks the speed to arrive. Always around the football. Willing to exchange power with anyone and compete.
Processing - Diagnoses run plays well and is fast to flow. Does well to keep his eyes on his keys and not fall for window dressing. Coverage awareness is lacking and he’s tardy to pick up routes to his zone.
Range - He’s most effective between the tackles but his quick trigger and sound angles help extend his influence outside the tackles. Should not be trusted with too much real estate in coverage.
Flexibility - Doesn’t impress with fluidity or clean transitions. Doesn’t have wasted movement and his trigger is quick but twitch and explosiveness aren’t words used to describe Smith. Hip hinge and pivots are tight.
Versatility - Best suited to play SAM or MIKE linebacker in a 4-3 alignment. Below average coverage skill set could take him off the field on passing downs.
BEST TRAIT - Tackling
WORST TRAIT - Coverage
RED FLAGS - Torn ACL in 2015 that required injections in 2018. Missed two games in 2018 with a hamstring injury.
Smith’s key and diagnose skills, physicality and tackling ability are best featured as a 4-3 inside linebacker. With that said, he does have coverage limitations that could relegate him to base-defense only duties. A big part of Smith’s draft stock is contingent on medicals and what type of shape his knee is in. Smith’s ceiling comes as a starter at MIKE who gives strong contributions on special teams.
Round Grade - Mid/Late Day Three