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2018 NFL Scouting Report: Scouting Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith

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Could the Georgia linebacker be the Broncos answer at inside linebacker?

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oklahoma vs Georgia Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos in the first-round with their fifth overall pick is former Georgia inside linebacker Roquan Smith. He is a 6’1”, 236lb inside linebacker who is considered the top inside linebacker prospect in this years draft. Smith is ranked as the top inside linebacker according to NFLDraftScout.com and is considered the 7th best overall prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Roquan Smith played three seasons at Georgia and put up some impressive numbers during that time. During his three-year career at Georgia, Smith totaled 252 total tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 3 fumble recoveries, and 3 forced fumbles. This past season, Smith totaled 137 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 2 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 forced fumbles.

Smith was named the Georgia Defensive MVP for the 2017 season at the team’s post-season awards gala. He was also named Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker in 2017. Smith was also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award, both of which go to the country’s top overall defensive player. Smith was named the MVP of the SEC Championship Game after he had a career-high-matching 13 tackles, one QB sack, another stop for lost yardage, and a pair of fumble recoveries.

Roquan Smith, Junior, Georgia

Height: 6’1” Weight: 236lbs 40 time: 4.51 second

Arm Length: 32” Hands: 10”

Film Room:

Scouting Report:

Strengths:

  • A new-age linebacker
  • Elite range and play speed
  • Excellent in space and moves well and loose
  • Fluid movement and just a great all-around athlete
  • Quick enough to meet runners at the edge and stop them for no gain or a loss
  • A high-level coverage linebacker
  • Great instincts
  • Good football IQ
  • Was used a blitzer at Georgia and racked up 6.5 sacks in 2017
  • Avoids second level blockers well and doesn’t get caught up in the trash
  • A solid wrap up tackler
  • Team leader at Georgia
  • Former high school wide receiver and that athleticism stands out

Weaknesses:

  • Doesn’t have your prototypical inside linebacker size
  • While he is good at avoiding second level blockers, he can be taken out by them if they get to him
  • More of a space/chase linebacker than a physical linebacker
  • Gets a little grabby in coverage

Quotable:

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah on Roquan Smith who he has ranked as his 11th best player on his big board.

Smith is an undersized inside linebacker with excellent instincts and range. Against inside runs, he uses his quickness to beat blockers to spots and is a firm, chest-up tackler. He does need to improve his hand usage because once blockers get into him, he struggles to free himself. He’s at his best against perimeter runs. Smith brings outstanding recognition and covers ground quickly. I believe he projects best as a 4-3 WLB where he would be able to use his speed to run-and-chase without having to mix it up inside. Against the pass, he has the speed and agility to cover RBs and TEs. He’s an excellent blitzer. Smith might lack the ideal bulk, but he’s a playmaker against both the run and pass.

Does Roquan Smith make sense for the Broncos with the fifth overall pick in the first-round?

He’s a great talent, but I don’t see the fit right now.

Todd Davis should not stop the Broncos from targeting Roquan Smith, but they did just sign him to a 3 year, $15,000,000 contract earlier this month. He is likely starting this year but could be gone with only a $2 million dollar dead money hit. However, Smith is a plug and play linebacker so I don’t really see them juggling that this year.

Add in that they just acquired safety Su’a Cravens who likely play the coverage linebacker role for the Broncos, so do they really have a need for Smith? He’s a great talent, but the Broncos likely add depth behind Marshall and Davis instead of adding a plug and play starter.

I would love Roquan Smith being added to the Broncos. He’s a new-age linebacker who has the speed to cover running backs and tight ends while possessing elite range to make plays all over the field. He would instantly become a plug and play all-pro linebacker. Todd Davis shouldn’t stop this from happening, but unfortunately, I think it does.

Poll

Should the Broncos draft inside linebacker Roquan Smith in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes
    (214 votes)
  • 73%
    No
    (585 votes)
799 votes total Vote Now