"Athletic LB that employs leverage with heavy hands on the edge. But his eye popping testing suggests there's more meat on the bone than his film shows."
Long armed linebacker with violent hands that punches above his weight. Solid burst and can close and chase. Active, heavy hands and is adept at using leverage to set the edge. Carries more sand than he appears too and can rock offense lineman.
Comfortable in space and has good overall awareness. Tested like a bonafide athletic freak at the combine. Mature, engaging, team leader personality and a defensive culture setter.
As a pass rusher it's almost as if Smith was always playing contain. He rarely showed the level of first step explosion he displayed at the combine. But with improved rush technique he could potentially take that governor off as a pro, similar to Danielle Hunter.
Gives up length and weight at the poa and susceptible to getting overwhelmed. On film lacks ideal explosion, isn't exactly a speed rusher and doesn't consistently turn the corner. Meager production. Nagging injuries including missing most of his last year.
Smith's an athletic LB with the heavy handwork and power of an edge rusher. He's physical at the los and gets free quickly to find the ball. He closes well and brings more weight to collisions than it appears he should.
While he's unquestionably athletic, he doesn't have a special first step on film or above average lower body strength and he can get handled on the edge by bigger, athletic lineman.
What's intriguing about Smith is that, on film, his game is all about leverage, heavy hands and physicality above anything else. But in February he became the heaviest player with a vertical over 40" and a 40yd dash less than 4.40 in NFL combine history. He tested like a rare top tier athlete, in particular his speed and initial get off.
Shocking, frankly, because that degree of first step explosiveness is not really readily apparent on film. However, if he improves his technique, and better translates that explosiveness into his rush, obviously there's a monster ceiling in there.
Overall I think he's versatile enough to remain an edge, add weight and legitimately play with his hand in the grass, or line up as an off ball linebacker.