Pros: Is an active player that does a good job in pursuit. Shows good awareness in zone coverage and does a nice job reading the quarterback. Has good straight-line speed and shows he's a capable blitzer off the edge. Has good burst to the ball. Is an effective and will line up against receivers in the slot, showing potential in man coverage.
Cons: Inconsistent in man coverage and doesn't have great hips. Undersized and he can get run over as a tackler. Will whiff and miss some stops in the open field. Over Pursues at times. Struggles at the point of attack and can't get off blocks.
Overview: Smith is a tweener that is an effective coverage linebacker in college, but more than likely will have to move to safety in the pros.
NFL Forecast: I think Smith could stay at linebacker at the next level. But isn't anything special in coverage, although he ﬂashes potential there. And I doubt he sticks as a nickel linebacker. He's too undersized vs. the run to really make an impact on regular defense. He could get bigger and stronger, but still would be somewhat a liability there. He could stick at linebacker if he can make an impact on special teams, but that's all he'll be: a special teams guy that provides OK depth. The best you could hope for is him becoming a player like Cato June in a Tampa-2 scheme. But has a ways to improve in coverage to come close to June in that regard. He does have some potential to be an effective player on regular defense if he moves to safety. He's in consistent in coverage, but ﬂashes the potential that merits more development and the belief that he could eventually adjust. He'd be a project and probably would only be a below average starter at best.
ATL Forecast: Smith could land on the Falcons roster as a special teams player, but would eventually replaced within two or so years by someone with more upside on defense. He would be a project as a safety goes, but if he can be hidden on the practice squad for a year or two, might be able to compete as a reserve. Not really a threat to start down the road, but could be a nice backup if he can stick on special teams.
Value: Smith is a tweener and project that doesn't deserve to be drafted, but should be definitely brought to camp.
Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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