Scouting The Draft: Marcus Smith, DE/OLB, Louisville

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

A peek at the pass rush prospect from Da 'Ville.

Introduction

While it seems that most of the Jets fan base are locked in on an offensive skill player or cornerbacks with these high draft picks, don’t be too surprised if this is the year the Jets finally make a bid on an edge pass rusher that they’ve lacked since, well, John Abraham left 8 years ago.  Idzik has always preached a BPA approach.  There’s a point where that guy may be Louisville’s Marcus Smith.

Smith came to Louisville as a Rivals 3 star QB prospect and the ESPN #37 athlete prospect.  He was quickly moved to linebacker and, eventually, defensive end where he flourished as a senior.  After racking up 9.5 career sacks his first 3 seasons, Smith exploded for 14.5 sacks for a much improved Louisville defense en route to an AAC defensive player of the year award.

Measurables


Height: 6-3 3/8"

Weight: 251

Arm length: 34"

Hand size: 10"

40 yard dash: 4.68

10 yard split: 1.57

Vertical leap: 35"

Broad jump: 10-1

Bench press: 23

3-cone drill: 7.48 at Combine, 7.08 at Pro Day

20 yard shuttle: 4.38 (Pro Day)

Stats

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Positives

-    Has a great frame.  Decent height at 6-3 and a half, with long arms and big hands (and if anyone knows me knows my affinity for long pass rushers).
-    Plays with excellent balance, rarely stumbles and falls on tape.
-    Quick burst off the line with the ability to beat tackles off the snap.
-    Pretty fluid in space, ran a very good shuttle time
-    Sets the edge well against the run and has the strength to cause a pile up
-    Decent in his drops into coverage
-    Very scheme diverse; has played with his hand in the dirt in a 4-3 front  and stands up well as a 3-4 OLB
-    Athletic and fast, with a sub-4.7 40 and a 35 inch vertical leap.

Negatives

-    Undersized and a "tweener": somewhere between the size of a 3-4 OLB and a 4-3 DE.
-    Needs to develop a variety of pass rush moves; tends to get caught up hand-fighting with blockers
-    Did not consistently beat tackles all game; a lot of his sacks came from stunts and well-designed blitzes
-    Needs to show better hip bend and flexibility to dip around the corner
-    Not going to throw offensive linemen backwards
-    Will never be confused for a shut down cover linebacker

Conclusion

Marcus Smith may come with his fair share of criticisms, but don’t allow that to cause you to overthink.  He’s a quick, speedy rush prospect who has the long arms to fight off blockers.  I’ve seen Smith mocked anywhere from the 2nd to the 4th.  Personally, I think Marcus Smith is a first round prospect who has high end Pro Bowl potential.  I hate making these comparisons to guys from the same college, but he really does remind me a bit of Elvis Dumervil, with the long arms and burst, but Smith is 4 inches taller.  He looks like a good fit as a 3-4 OLB with some size and ability to seal the edge in the run game, just as Rex asks for out of his OLBs.

Tape


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