Drafted: ROUND: 4 - Pick Number: 120 (CAR)
Draft Profile: BioBrandon Smith was a high school star logging 165 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles in his senior season.
As a result of that standout year he was a five-star recruit and was ranked as the No. 1 inside linebacker in the entire 2019 recruiting class.
Smith didn't play a lot in his freshman year and was the backup SAM linebacker but played a more significant as a sophomore when he was handed the starting role - and didn't disappoint. His contribution was more impressive than his stats suggested (37 tackles and 2 sacks) which led him to being considered as one of the nation's top LB prospects.
The 2021 season is proving to be the most dominating yet for Smith who is continuing to grow into the position both figuratively and literally (he's put on more muscle in the weight room and made Bruce Feldman's Freak list!). He's logged 61 tackles, a forced fumble, and 2 sacks (as of Nov 11 2021).
Scouting Report: Strengths
- A dominating athlete who tests off the charts - at 240lbs he's reportedly run a hand-timed 4.38 (although we consider our 4.40 a more reliable report)
- Made Bruce Feldman's Freaks list at #32 -- "Smith’s explosiveness is in line with many of the recent Penn State standouts. He broad jumps 10-5 and verticals 36 inches. His 4.25 shuttle time also is very strong, as is his 335-pound clean."
- Tougher between the tackles than many expect. Ideally, an 4-3 outside linebacker but fluid and quick enough to drop into zone and covers enough ground to be Tampa-2 "MIKE" and knows where the markers are.
- Does a nice job locating the ball and sticking with the play while working off blocks. Physical very powerful finisher.
- Very versatile has played all spots as LB and can happily rush the passer, he covers well and solid in the run game
- Very explosive with a nice first step - probably could go man on man with wideouts in a push
- Overpowers weaker lineman with supreme strength for his size
- Flashes strength to punch or stiff-arm to get off blocks. Stays with plays downfield, often making tackles even after being hit by multiple linemen.
- A really good student, a high character guy with a great work ethic
- Great in coverage can run with tight ends and blanket them down the field
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Given Smith's sky-high high potential he hasn't ever really dominated as we would have hoped
- Builds to top speed quickly but must take the right line to beat backs to the edge.
- Misses too many tackles
- Still quite raw as a run defender and must improve his overall technique
- Not always good in space and needs to improve his positional sense. Too many times he seems to be patrolling the empty areas of the field
- Has had a few unnecessary personal foul penalties - which is a surprise considering his disciplined nature
Scouting Report: SummaryBrandon Smith is an amazing athlete with perfect size, strength, speed for the position and has always seemed likely to become a star. Despite this he hasn't dominated in college quite to the extent we would have hoped and we have never given him an excellent grade as either a tackler or a run defender with his best rating coming in pass defense.
Smith will likely be over-drafted - possibly as high as the middle of the first round due to his sky-high potential, but we view him as a late first early second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft based on his college game tape.
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