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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

NFL Draft Scouting Report: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Roquan Smith - Georgia

 

Position: LB

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 236 lbs

Year: Junior

Hometown: Montezuma, GA

Experience: 2-Year Starter

 

 

Measurables:

40yd dash: 4.51s

Broad jump: DNP

Vertical: DNP

3-cone: DNP

20yd. Shuttle: DNP

Bench Press: DNP

 

Career Notes:

Coming out of Macon County high school, Smith had high expectations as one of the nation’s best inside linebackers. As a freshman in 2015, Smith appeared in ten games, getting his feet wet with limited snaps.

As a sophomore, he started off the 2016 season as a rotational linebacker and was quickly promoted into a starting role. He finished the season with the most tackles on the Bulldogs’ defense. Despite being one of the SEC’s top defenders, national media didn’t take notice of Smith’s on-field exploits until his junior season.

In 2017, Smith was a full time starter and played in every game. He exploded as the SEC’s leader in tackles, more than ten percent of which came behind the line of scrimmage. By consensus, Smith was an SEC and national first-teamer, garnering first team defensive recognition from the Associated Press, Walter Camp, and a number of other outlets. The AP also recognized the Georgia kid as the SEC defensive player of the year.

 

Injury Report:

An unspecified shoulder injury took Smith out of Spring action in 2017, but he has not been sidelined from a game by any injuries at Georgia.

 

Career Stats: https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/roquan-smith-1.html

 

Analysis:

Against the Run 4.0/5.0: Smith’s athleticism and reactions combined to make him a consistently disruptive run defender. He had phenomenal instincts to know where plays were going and made split-second decisions about where he could bring down runners. He did not often have to adjust his pursuit angle because his first angle was usually the best angle. His size was a concern occasionally, as he did not always bring runners down as soon as he made contact. He did flash an ability to drop runners on first contact, but that was not a consistent trait. He seemed to be in on every run play and seemed to assist every tackle. When Georgia was down and had to play aggressive defense, he would get sucked inside quite a bit and leave the Bulldogs vulnerable to running backs who bounced outside.

Pass Rush 2.0/5.0: Smith was the most active player on defense, especially in the pass rush. For all of his energy, he does not produce consistent pressure on the quarterback. Smith did not generate the power necessary to back linemen up into the pocket. He did not have moves to get to the quarterback inside or outside. He could be slippery on delayed blitzes and get to quarterbacks with speed.

Coverage 4.5/5.0: Whether in man or zone coverage, Smith’s awareness and quick reactivity served him well. He seemed to have wider peripheral vision than anyone on the field and could look right at a quarterback and know what was going on ten yards in any direction around him. He also showed a capacity for recognizing offenses’ patterns. Early in the first quarter against Auburn, he got pulled to the line of scrimmage on a play action pass which went for a first down. In the third quarter when the Tigers tried to dial up the same play on on a third down, he covered the route that beat him earlier in the game and forced a throwaway, forcing Gus Malzahn’s offense off the field. He also showed an ability to outleap receivers and defend passes.

Agility 5.0/5.0: Smith could hang with every running back he tried to bring down in the open field. His lateral movement looked effortless all the time. Whatever he gave up to SEC running backs in vertical speed, he compensated for with his agility. In coverage, his quickness allowed him to disrupt and prevent passes.

Impact Play Ability 4.5/5.0: Smith made his presence felt on just about every play. He was never the biggest player on the field, but he made an impact on just about every play. He was not credited with many passes defensed, but his position in zone defense prevented a good number of passes and forced difficult throws over the middle. His man coverage deterred check-downs to force throwaways or sacks.

Summary: Smith’s tackle totals were not just a result of being surrounded by quality talent, although Georgia did have a good cast on defense. Smith had tackles all over the field. He was the most intelligent pursuit man in college football and could sniff out running lanes almost as soon as running backs took their first step. In the pass game, his ability to read the quarterback and maintain position was impressive. As stated earlier, he was overly aggressive when Georgia was down, but that seemed to be more about coaching as the rest of the defense would bite on play fakes when the Bulldogs were down. He was always the first person to know where a play was going and he played fast, even when navigating clusters of players. He was not strong enough to strike fear into the hearts of offensive linemen and could benefit from a consistent pass rush move.

Overall Grade 4.0/5.0

 

If drafted by the Packers:

It’s no secret that Smith is most likely going to be a Raider next season, but if they re-sign Navorro Bowman that frees them up to pick away from inside linebacker. In that case, the teams ahead of Green Bay have bigger needs than inside linebacker. Smith might end up being the best defender in this class and would be the perfect mike linebacker for new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine. Even if Pettine wants a veteran Blake Martinez or Jake Ryan at the center of the defense, Roquan would be a phenomenal will linebacker to clean up whatever makes it through the Packers’ defensive line. The Packers run defense has been hurtin’ for certain despite having a dynamic duo of penetrating defensive linemen in the middle (Daniels and Clark). For his ability to pursue runners and cover just about anybody the NFC North will throw at him in the middle of the field, Smith would be something of a fix-all for a Packers front seven that has been ineffective over the last three years.

 

Video:

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

stockholder's picture

My Grade 5.0. Flat out the best player the packers could draft. Team Leader and can play outside with that speed. Yea he's not 6'4" 240 pounds like the packers like them. But he and ever PLAY MAKER will be gone! In Bucky Brooks latest mock draft. He's got it right for the first 12 picks. The packers need to trade Down if they want defense. Ridley as much as I hate it, would be your highest rated player.

MITM's picture

Im just curious what you mean by "he can play outside", do you mean for us? Because in our defense, for the sake of argument at least, Pettine does run a hybrid but his core philosophy is a 3-4 base. That being said I have to kindly disagree if you believe he could fit as an OLB in our defense. He is definitely an ideal OLB as a Will or Weakside backer in a 4-3 defense ala a Derrick Brooks but most certainly not a 3-4. He is the type of LB who is not a pass rusher he is someone you would put inside here at the WILL inside linebacker in our 3-4 and i would be fine with drafting him for that purpose to pair with Martinez. At that spot I would liken Smith to a Patrick Willis type whereas at OLB he would need to be more of an Aldon Smith in terms of measurables and style of play. Ted Thompson was someone who did not put a big emphasis on the ILB position which i always disagreed with and always believed was a big reason why we stuggled defensively in the middle of the field under Capers. The most successful 3-4 defenses in the last 10-15 years always had stud ILBs. Think Steelers, Ravens and 49ers in their heydays. Thompson refused to draft off the ball linebackers before the 4th round. AJ Hawk was a top 5 pick under Thompson but he was drafted as a 4-3 OLB before Capers came in and moved him inside. After that look at our starters inside under Capers. Bishop we lucked out with he was a 7th round pick. Brad Jones i believe was a 6th or 7th rounder. The rest were all either undrafted picks (a number of whom were converted pass rushing 3-4 LBs that we kicked inside) or guys we drafted at the earliest round 4 (Martinez and Ryan were both 4th rounders.) Right now I understand we need to add corners and pass rushing LBs one way or another. But if we sit at 14 and Smith falls to us even Edmunds or Vander Esch, I am all for taking a difference making ILB for a change.

stockholder's picture

He won't play outside for the packers. He needs to be inside. But he could if they needed a quick fix. Thats my take only. I think he would be the best pass rusher "inside" we could get. He has sacks! And speed to get to the QB where others don't. A cover ILB too. Vander Esch is the only guy that will be there @14. So I'm not looking at any of these guys for the packers now. They'll be gone. I see a trade down for Vander Esh, Landry, and more than likely Jackson at CB. I think the fan base wants Landry @ edge. I believe that may be the best option for the defense. Try thinking this. Sign House! Sign Williams on 1 year deals. Draft Landry, Draft Arden Key, Draft Gallop Wr, Draft 3 Cbs in the 4th and 5th , small school.

MITM's picture

I personally am not big on Arden Key or Harold Landry. Thats just my opinion.

stockholder's picture

I think Vander Esh will be better than landry. Key maybe KGB . I thought it would be a nice package if the packers got both. Landry was off the charts by some here until the combine.

EdsLaces's picture

If I could pick 1 player it would be Roq.

stockholder's picture

Gute made a personal showing in georgia. Pick the whole georgia team!

worztik's picture

If I could pick one player it would be Emmitt Smith...

worztik's picture

Or even better, Barry Sanders...

4thand1's picture

They are both too old and retired.

AgrippaLII's picture

I doubt that he will still be on the board when GB picks in the first round. It would be a major coup getting him at #14.

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