Senior LB Will Smith will try and make an NFL Roster this summer, and though it doesn't look like he'll be drafted, he still will have a shot at making a team. He is listed as OLB at the next level. Before we go any further, let's take a look at Will Smith's measurables and possible outcomes in the upcoming draft.
POSITION: Linebacker (60th at Position, 718th overall)
BENCH REPS: 17
VIDEO: Holiday Bowl
BEST CASE SCENARIO: Get's drafted in 7th round
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Doesn't make NFL Roster
Will Smith is probably not going to be drafted, as he is not ranked very high and there are several good LBs ahead of him. However, I've seen teams like the Patriots draft guys ranked 400 in the 2nd or 3rd round, causing me to grunt in frustration and repeatedly hit my head on the coffee table. His 40 time is right on target with several OLB, and his Vertical jump is better than most OLB, but what kills Will Smith the most is his strength. Many of the OLB get at least 23-25 bench reps, but Will Smith only was able to do 17 at his pro day. As an OLB in the NFL, you either need to have elusive speed and agility or be strong enough to be able to push through linemen and tackle the opposition. While Will Smith was a good tackler in college, it's going to be harder bringing some of the bigger RB and guarding the new type of TEs coming in. Will Smith described his strengths and weaknesses in an interview with our own Seth C.
Seth C: What do you feel like are your biggest strengths and what do you need to work on as you work your way towards the NFL?
Will Smith: My biggest strengths are my speed and getting to the ball, my change of direction and pass coverage. I need to work on being more physical with my hands on blockers, and sometimes on tackling my feet go dead, so just to keep my feet running through a ball carrier instead of to one.
Here is what NFL.com said about Will Smith during Texas Tech's pro day:
Will Smith, LB (6-2 1/8, 231) — Smith ran the 40 in 4.68 seconds against the wind and 4.60 seconds with the wind. He had a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 9-5 broad jump. He did the short shuttle in 4.50 seconds and the three-cone in 7.05 seconds. He had 17 strength lifts
Let's look at the positives here. Will Smith, playing in a passing league, has good experience guarding against the pass, which is crucial in today's NFL. His good speed for an OLB and vertical jump will be crucial for mirroring running backs and tight ends, along with giving him to ability to knock down or intercept the ball. Also, he's good at recognizing where the runner is going and getting to the location to make the tackle (He had 120 recorded tackled last season). Finally, he has leadership, which will cause many teams to put him higher on their draft board. Will Smith also earned some awards, including Big XII honorable mention, AP Big 12 first team and Defensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl. Will Smith will likely at least be given a shot on a team (Waddle, Davis and Doege all got free agent spots), and hopefully he makes it. But what teams could Will Smith go to? It's going to be hard to guess, but let's take a crack at it.
Dallas Cowboys - Cowboys have a little bit on a LB issue right now. In fact they have a whole front seven issue. Most likely they will grab a lot of DEs and DTs early on, but later on they will probably target LBs. I think they'll get one around rounds 3-5, which means they probably won't draft Will Smith However, Jerry Jones just loves to get guys from the Big XII and Arkansas on his team, especially in the late rounds (example: Joseph Randle, James Hanna) and maybe even more so in rookie free agency (Darrin Moore went to Cowboys camp). So we could possibly see Will Smith here. Who knows what Jerry Jones is thinking.
New Orleans Saints - The only I think that he could go here is the fact that Saints could use more depth for true outside linebackers and possibly they could target Smith with former Red Raider Keyunta Dawson, who had similar numbers and rankings to Will Smith when he came out of Texas Tech. Plus the fact that New Orleans is close to Texas Tech then some other schools could contribute.
Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals are in deep trouble at OLB right now, with hardly on linebackers on their depth chart and the ones that are on the depth chart are getting up there in age. Cardinals have a lot of problems, so they may not be able to get as many LBs are they wish, causing them to pick up some in Rookie free agency.
So hopefully Will Smith's ability to defend the pass and tackle will get him on a roster spot. Maybe a team decides to take a chance at him in the draft or in free agency, hoping to build up his strength. There is one thing we know, he was a great Red Raider and will make this organization proud. Here's to hoping he does that in Pro Football. What do you think will happen to Will Smith come draft week?
Mock Draft 1.0
I will make have one week by week, making minor adjustments if needed, depending on news happening around the NFL. I highlighted some of y'all favorite teams in the mock. Here is the first installment:
|Houston Texans||Jadeveon Clowney||I still believe that the Texans will select Clowney here. They have the ability to really stack up their front seven and makes teams go through hell when they're on offense. I think the Texans will ethier pick a QB with their next pick or trade up in the late first round to grab a QB. Bill O'Brien is a QB genius, and he was a Patriot assistant, so I have a feeling of who he wants.|
|St. Louis Rams||Greg Robinson||For a team with a so much young talent on the offensive end, they aren't doing to much. One reason I think why is because they need to protect Sam Bradford. Greg Robinson has great length and talent for his age and will have the ability to play for the Rams for a while. With Jake Long there too, this should help a lot|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Johnny Manziel||I don't like Johhny Football, and I have him as my 2nd ranked QB right now (behind Bortles), but I think he's the first QB off the board. Jacksonville has major QB need with Gabbert busting, they need a QB bad. They have his teammate in Luke Joeckel, and they need tickets to be able to keep that team in Jacksonville. Manziel is exciting and could turn Jacksonville into a winner as long as his attitude doesn't screw things up.|
|Cleveland Browns||Teddy Bridgewater||I think Bortles gets passed up again for Teddy Bridgewater. I think Cleveland goes with Bridgewater because he's a different type of QB than everyone on the depth chart, and he off the QBs left, he plays the most like EJ Manuel did for Buffalo (which is where new Browns coach coached before). Plus Cleveland always seems to screw things up.|
|Oakland Raiders||Sammy Watkins||Raiders like Speed guys, as evidence once again when they tired to sign Desean Jackson. Sammy Watkins has crazy speed and can catch the deep ball. Weather it's Schaub, Pryor, or whoever is QB, they will have fun throwing the deep ball to Watkins.|
|Atlanta Falcons||Kahlil Mack||Falcons signed (or re-signed) and bunch of linemen in the off-season, so I believe they will target an outstanding OLB in Kahlil Mack here. He's fast and crazy athletic, and could multiple things for the Falcons Linebacker core. This will help the Falcons stabilize their front 7|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Anthony Barr||Lovie Smith will have a chance to shape up his defensive unit, and I think he goes with Anthony Barr here, who could play both DE and OLB in Lovie's system. This will help when he needs to moves guys around to see what works out best for the club. Most likely he will be an OLB, as they need help there.|
|Minnesota Vikings||Blake Bortles||Finally the horrible Ponder experiment is over and the Vikings go with Blake Bortles as QB. They have young receivers and the best RB in the game already, they just need a QB that knows what he's doing. Bortles is like Big Ben in which he can make plays happen, which is what the Vikes need right now. He also has a powerful arm and has good pocket prescience|
|Buffalo Bills||Jake Mathews||Bills have got to protect EJ Manuel, they don't want their QB to get hurt again. Mathews is a great OT that can come in and play right away to protect Manuel. EJ Manuel will be a lot better this year if there aren't opposing plays on top of him all the time.|
|Detroit Lions||Darqueze Dennard||Michigan State player goes to the Michigan team. Lions are need of a corner bad, as their corners haven't exactly done good in the past. With the Lions resigning Pettigrew and signing Tate, they don't need receivers anymore. Dennard should help them contend again.|
|Tennessee Titans||Mike Evans||Many experts have secondary players going here, but I think Titans have bigger concerns. They haven't quite given up on Locker (that will likely change next year) and will get him another weapon to see what he can go. They already have the speedy Wright, now they will get a monster receiver in Evans. If Locker fails now, cut him and get a Mariota next year.|
|New York Titans||Taylor Lewan||Giants have to protect Eli. He got hit a lot last year, causing him to throw interceptions and say his famous "damn" after each one. Taylor Lewan is a good pick here with his freakish size and ability. Eli will feel comfortable with a huge tackle help protecting him. Maybe that will get his confidence up.|
|St Louis Rams||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Hey it's the Rams again. They need secondary help, with only the questionable Jenkins really making an impact back there. Hopefully the Saban trained Clinton Dix will bring leadership and stability in the secondary|
|Chicago Bears||Aaron Donald||Bears signed a bunch of DEs over the off-season, but lost DT Melton to the boys and need a DT to help that line out. Aaron Donald will be able to come in a contribute right away to an already good Chicago defense.|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Justin Gilbert||I've seen experts predict offense players too, but defense is what drives Pittsburgh and they need to start revamping their secondary. Justin Gilbert is a big corner with play making ability, which is what the Steelers like.|
|Dallas Cowboys||Louis Nix||The Cowboys have too many problems in their secondary right now, but they also lost Ware. I think the cowboys will sign a big DT in Louis Nix. That will help the Cowboys cover up the secondary problems for a while. Later in the draft is when the Cowboys will start to get secondary players|
|Baltimore Ravens||Timmy Jernigan||Ravens just lost Arhtur Jones and Haloti Ngata is getting up there is age. Jernigan would be perfect to help with DT and learn the position besides one of the best in the league in Ngata. They have Terrence Cody here, but I don't think he's a long term solution there. They also needed WR, but Steve Smith doesn't make this as big of a need.|
|New York Jets||Eric Ebron||Yes I know, Amaro isn't picked here and y'all might be mad. But here's why. Jets signed a big receiver in Decker, but they also need to add some speed to the receiver position. Ebron ran the fastest 40 at the combine, so Ryan will likely pick Ebron to help out Geno Smith receiving wise|
|Miami Dolphins||Zack Martin||They could use help protecting Tannerhill and running the ball. Martin should help with that. With everyone in their division having great defenses, they need to help out their offense, Plus they lost a tackle last off-season to the Rams.|
|Arizona Cardinals||Jason Verrett||Cardinals could use another CB opposite of an already dangerous Patrick Petterson, and Verrett could help here. He helped shut down Ward in the TCU game, and is being overlooked a little bit due to the fact TCU was so bad last year. Verrett finds a good home in Arizona|
|Green Bay Packers||Jace Amaro||There he is. Packers are letting Finely walk, giving them a TE spot available in their already dangerous offense. Amaro gives Rodgers what Finely could never do, a consistent TE target. He can also block down field, which should help their bad running game. It kills me not to draft him to the Pats, but I never get what I want.|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Marquise Lee||With the loss of Desean Jackson, Eagles could use an explosive guy in Kelly's stupid fast offense. Lee has incredible speed and should be able to help replace Jackson. Kelly will have fun making plays around Lee's ability.|
|Kansas City Cheifs||Xavier Su'a-Filo||Cheifs don't have a lot of huge needs, but one thing they could use is protection after the Broncos upgrades their front seven. Su'a-Filo can play next to Fisher (last year's #1) to help give Alex Smith time in the pocket.|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Kyle Fuller||Bengals Corners are starting to get up there in age, so the Bengals could use another future CB to go with Kirkpatrick. Fuller is the best CB available and help under Jones and Newman before he start.|
|San Diego Chargers||Kelvin Benjamin||Benjamin gets picked early in the draft due to his championship catch and year with Jamis Winston. Chargers could use a tall receiver to help them, as they lacked height at that position last year.|
|Cleveland Browns||Odell Beckham Jr||The only threat in that offense right now is Josh Gordon, this should help them. Teddy Bridgewater will now get another target to throw to instead of Jordan. They will need to address offensive line after this though.|
|New Orleans Saints||Kony Early||Saints need some help with their pass rush, and Rob Ryan will want to have Early here to help them with that. Also could possibly help with DT if they need him there at all (although probably won't happen)|
|Carolina Panthers||Brandin Cooks||They lost both Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell in the off-season, so they badly need a weapon for Cam Newton. Cooks is a fast WR from Oregon State that could help bring that Steve Smith speed element to the receiver position|
|New England Patriots||CJ Mosley||Patriots need a WR or a TE here, but there is no one good enough here to pick up. They also need a LB with the loss of Spikes and Fletcher. Belichick and Saban are BFFs, so Belichick will draft Mosley to fit with Mayo, Hightower and Collins.|
|San Francisco 49ers||Bradley Roby||The 49ers needs to help replace some guys on defense, and will address offense later in the draft. They lost a lot of CBs, so they'll draft Bradley here. Even though they could survive with a CB against the Seahawks, teams like the Cardinals, Saints and Packers will pass all day, so the 9ers need a CB to help them there.|
|Denver Broncos||David Yanky||Even though the Broncos O-line was one of the best last year, they suffered against the Seahawks. They got players for almost every position of need during the off-season except for O-line. They grab Yanky here to play the guard position next to Ramirez and help that O-line out|
|Seattle Seahawks||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||After losing Tate, and already having an average passing attack, Seahawks could use a good pass catcher and block in TE Seferian-Jenkins. This should help they improve their weakness and help them win another Super Bowl|
Coming up in the NFL Draft Profile series:
- April 3rd - Will Smith
- April 10th - Terrence Bullitt
- April 17th - Eric Ward
- April 24th - Kerry Hyder Jr
- May 1st - Jace Amaro
- May 8th - Draft Day Updates and Rumors