Roquan Smith – Linebacker
Weight: 235 lbs
Roquan Smith NFL Draft Profile
Coming out of high school, Roquan Smith had an offer from just about every prime time football program imaginable. Alabama, USC, Clemson, Michigan, Florida, I could go on and on. He chose in-state Georgia after de-committing from UCLA.
He didn’t make huge waves his first year in Athens totaling 20 tackles on the season. His sophomore performance was much more impressive after leading the defense with 95 tackles with 26 of those coming in the final two games. His 2017 junior year, he took the SEC by storm. He tallied 137 tackles, 14 for losses, while also sacking opposing quarterbacks 6.5 times, he had zero sacks in his first two seasons.
Smith decided to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2018 NFL Draft. He is sitting atop a lot of lists as LB1. There is a lot to like about his play but is he being a bit overhyped?
Smith posted a 4.51 forty yard dash time at the NFL Combine which was the second-best time for the position group. While watching his film his speed leaps off of the screen at you. He can scrape with the best of them and he builds up so much speed that he packs a fierce punch when he delivers the blow. His speed allows him to string out plays and speaks to his knack for stopping runners behind the line of scrimmage.
Smith has a great first step and he can get solid jumps on plays because of it. When he is dissecting a play and has zeroed in on where it is going he seems to get to his spot in no time at all.
Nose For The Football
Smith proved last year that he is a tackling machine. 137 tackles on the year ranked among some of the best in all college football. He seems to be constantly around the action which is something I definitely want from my linebackers.
Coaches and teammates who are familiar with Smith rave about the type of person he is. He leads by example on and off of the field. He was a team captain for the Bulldogs in his last year in Athens.
His listed weight while playing for the Bulldogs was only 225 pounds but weighed a bit more at the combine with an official weigh-in of 236 pounds. He also stands at just 6’1″ which is not ideal. He plays well above his stature but whether or not his body can withstand the pounding an NFL linebacker endures is a question mark.
Smith relies too much on his athleticism and speed to avoid oncoming blockers. He must add to his tool chest at the next level if he wants to be as effective against the run. When blockers get a hold of him, he tends to have a difficult time getting off the block.
Roquan Smith is a great football player which is one of the best compliments someone under the helmet can receive. I think with his skill set, he is best suited to play in a 4-3 as an outside linebacker or a 3-4 as an inside linebacker. There are a few things he needs to be coached up on because once you get to the NFL everyone is just as athletic as you are and your technique and heart are what separates you. I have a feeling Smith has the heart but not sure about the technique quite yet.
NFL Player Comparison
Teams With A Need At Linebacker
Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams