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Breakdown of Mississippi State DL Preston Smith


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Preston-Smith.jpg

 

Size: 6'5" 271 lbs. Smith brings great length and a solid weight. This question depends on where you want to play him. His size is fine for an edge rusher, but skillset is more tailored to a 34 DE, where he's about 30 lbs too light. Smith will likely be used in a hybrid position, not stuck in any one area, so his size is fine. (4/5)

 

Athleticism: Smith is a solid athlete on tape, and tested well at the combine. Smith isn't a quick-twitch athlete. He shows great ability at the point of attack with good functional strength. Good burst and change of direction. Doesn't display a great first step. Stop-start ability is average. Just a solid athlete all around, but nothing special. Doesn't bend particularly well. Speed is almost entirely build up based. #forceplayer (6/10)

 

Hand Usage: Smith flashes a mean rip-move. Swats away the hands of opposing offensive lineman when shooting gaps. Possesses heavy and violent hands with a nice chop move. His active hands are probably his best asset to beating offensive lineman and tight ends. (9/10)

 

Pass Rush Moves: Smith has an array of interior pass rushing moves, Rip move is probably his best. . Aside from the rip, he uses a great bull-jerk move, and a not-so-bad swim move to go along with those active hands. Bull rush is strong as well. He doesn't really dominate with any of these moves, but he mixes them up a lot and has a good enough ability to win on a lot of them. From the edge he's not as good. Doesn't seem to have a great speed move. Spin and counter are basically non-existent. You can tell he's a lot more comfortable rushing from the interior than he is from the edge. He does show the occasional ability to win on a dip move from the edge. If this was just ranking him as an interior pass rusher, his grade would be a lot higher, but he also spent a lot of time rushing from the edge, which is going to bring his overall grade down. Just wanted to provide some context. (5/10)

 

Run Game Ability: Smith plays with good leverage and instincts in the run game. He can shed block, but the problem is that he's always juuuust a second late to shed and hit the RB for a short gain. He has no problem matching power with guards or tackles, and almost never gets overpowered at the point of attack. (6/10)

 

Misc. Technical: Smith could do a better job of timing the snap. Reaction time is "ok" at best. He sees the play well, but is late to attack it sometimes. Like Werner, he doesn't attack when the play is away from him or give chase. Active, but not reactive enough. He actually looks decent dropping into coverage. (3/5)

 

Tackling: Very sound tackler. Wraps up with those long arms and drives the ball-carrier to the ground. Nothing I see would make me question his tackling ability. (4/5)

 

Versatility: Smith can line up in a variety of different spot. I'd feel comfortable with him as a rotational RDE is a 4-3, a SAM LB in a 3-4, and (his best fit) as an under tackle in nickel-fronts. I think anywhere else is asking too much. (4/5)

 

GIFs:  

 

Pulls center close and sheds block: http://zippy.gfycat....ontosaurus.webm

Another angle: http://zippy.gfycat....alloonfish.webm

 

Nice burst and hand usage for a sack: http://zippy.gfycat....ebutterfly.webm

Another angle: http://fat.gfycat.co...lyinglemur.webm

 

This is good stuff: http://zippy.gfycat.com/ConfusedNecessaryChickadee.webm

 

I know the QB fumbles, but still not fair: http://zippy.gfycat.com/BlushingUntidyAcaciarat.webm

 

My god. This hand usage: http://zippy.gfycat.com/EvenKindheartedEquine.webm

 

La'El Collins takes him out:  http://zippy.gfycat.com/OptimalApprehensiveItaliangreyhound.webm

 

Nice little pressure from a headfake: http://zippy.gfycat.com/UnfortunateFreshArctichare.webm

 

Conclusion: 

 

Grade: 41 out of 60. Which makes him a 2nd-round pick. Basically a top-40 pick. 

 

Smith is a versatile defensive lineman with powerful, active hands. Unfortunately he's a tweener who doesn't really have a position in the NFL. I doubt he'll ever be a starter, but there's definitely a place for him in a multiple defense that can put him into position to win. I wouldn't be surprised if he snuck into the 1st round. 

 

NFL Comparisons:

 

Justin Tuck, OAK

Antonio Smith, DEN

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