Scouting Report: In a league that covets hybrid players who can do a lot of things in a defensive scheme, Smith is a hot commodity. He's got the physical build that really lends itself to the rush OLB position of a 3-4 defense. He's certainly athletic enough to drop into coverage if need be, and if he can beef up a little and get a little stronger he could hold his own as a 4-3 DE. The best thing about Smith is the fact he's just a kid. He's very young and you can tell just by looking at him, he's got lots of room to grow and develop.
Draft Status: If you didn't follow the Big 12, you might be back tracking to get up to speed. NFL teams who've followed Smith have seen what he has been able to do in a very short span. His upside is tremendous and his potential is very high. On that alone I suspect some team is going to pull the trigger on Smith in the middle of the first round.
Final Analysis: To break him down technically what you see with Smith is a kid who's got excellent agility and explosion. He does a nice job of anticipating the snap count and can get low on the curve coming around the corner. He's got long arms and knows how to use that length. An underrated tackler and run defender and is able to work down the line, shed offensive linemen and finish very well. But having said all that, I am very sceptical of Smith's NFL future. He's got a lot of Robert Mathis in him, but he's got a lot of Aaron Maybin as well. He's almost certainly a project player, and if he can't get bigger and stronger, he might never be able to hit that huge potential.
Reminds me of: Jason Pierre-Paul DE New York Giants - They both have similar size, inexperience and have super high ceilings in terms of NFL potential. If Smith can fall into a good situation like JPP did, and get a year or two to learn and get stronger, he will have a genuine shot to be a great pro.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy