Took some time off from this section just to refresh, it actually does become hard work researching some of these prospects. However they should be back, and on a regular schedule again now, so I though a perfect place to start was with a guy who is probably a little better than people give him credit for. That being D'Anthony Smith, a 6-2, 304lb defensive tackle out of Louisiana Tech.
As far as I can see there are no character concerns with Smith, however there was one big red flag for me which makes me think twice about even looking at the guy. I read numerous times, they he doesn't play with much 'intensity', may lack 'motivation', and doesn't play with any 'aggression'. There are numerous ways to look at this, but after Vernon, those three key words would be enough to make me pass. However he possesses a lot of talent, and he is a guy that is worthy of a good look.
2006- 13 games played, 38 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 0.5 sacks
2007- 11 games played, 43 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks
2008- 13 games played, 65 tackles, 8.0 tackles for a loss, 5.0 sacks
2009- 12 games played, 51 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks
Named first team all WAC in 2008 and 2009.
So what does Anthony Smith do well?
Smith is a very athletic player who uses his hands well in all departments, including getting his hands in the air to swat balls. Has a nice initial burst off the snap, and does have several pass rushing moves, although he tended to rely on his bull rush a lot in college. However I attribute that to it being so effective. Has quick feet and good lateral agility, has good speed for his size to track some plays down. Good against the run and plays with good pad level, very stout and has a strong lower body. Extremely durable and doesn't wear down much. A good tackler who won't miss too many and for people saying he lacks some violence to his game, he sure does plant some backs onto the floor once he gets hold of them, and gets good penetration into the backfield.
What are the concerns with Smith?
He doesn't seem to love the game on the outside, not a 'beat your chest' type player, and his motivation and intensity has been questioned, and for me those are big red flags straight away. Remains to be seen whether he will adapt his other pass rush moves when his bull rush is not as effective at the next level. Doesn't always have the best awareness, and he is inconsistent.
What I hear about Smith and what I see from him don't really arrive at the same destination. Coming in I thought he was quite an intense player, and his tackling has been more than violent in the past, he is also quite violent in trying to shed blocks. He is definitely a work in progress, but he has definite upside, and with the right coaches he could be a very good player. He has good athletic ability, he has good lateral movement, and looks like he may have good flexibility as well, he played as a 3-4 NT and 4-3 DT in college, and I think he has the tools to also move outside to play a 3-4 DE. So that is some serious versatility there, and for a team that likes to give different looks he could offer some value. I have read that he is projected to go in the 3rd or 4th round, potentially slipping to the 5th at the very lowest, and some mockers say he has 2nd round talent. It depends where we go with our first picks, but he is an interesting prospect if he is sitting there in the 4th and especially in the 5th. Not saying I want him, but not against the idea either, undecided on Smith.
La Tech D v Hawaii (2009) Look for #5, he has a sack at 1:44 in, and uses his hands well to get inside.