Last Updated: 2018-01-16
Coming into the 2017 football season, linebacker Roquan Smith was projected to have a dominating season with the Georgia Bulldogs. He exceeded all of his expectations for the Bulldogs and walked away with the Butkus Award Trophy and won Defensive Player of The Year in the SEC. The only thing Smith didn’t win was a national championship. However, it was time for him to declare for the NFL Draft after a stellar junior season.
Smith was dominant and versatile middle linebacker for the Bulldogs. He accounted for 137 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss in 2017. Smith also sacked the quarterback 6.5 times this year. During his first two seasons with the Bulldogs, Smith never produced a sack. Smith also made waves in the turnover department with three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during his career. However, Smith didn’t have any interceptions in three seasons with the Bulldogs. For a player that diagnoses plays quickly, that’s an interesting occurrence.
Smith is a sure-handed tackler that promises to be a first-round draft pick in the spring. So far, his size is not a concern at the NFL level. He is listed at 6-foot-1 225 pounds. Naturally, he is quick enough to get into pass coverage, but he’s even more impressive against the run. Moreover, Smith should impress NFL scouts at the NFL Combine when he’s running sideline to sideline. It will also be intriguing to see what he runs in the 40-yard dash. If Smith displays the ability to cover running backs and slot receivers in man-to-man situations, a defensive coordinator will be able to use multiple defensive schemes at the next level, including playing Smith at safety. We have seen plenty of safeties move down into the box, but we don’t always see linebackers change positions on passing downs. For example, Smith is the type of football player that can blitz from the edge in a nickel look.
In all, he accounted for 252 total tackles and 20.5 tackles for loss in three seasons. The only reason to stay at the University of Georgia would have been to win a national title. His draft stock is not likely to go higher than it is right now.
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