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Scouting Report: Jaylon Smith | NFL Draft Board

Scouting Report: Jaylon Smith

Player Background:

When freakish athleticism meets instincts and competitiveness.  Jaylon Smith was a consensus All-American in 2015 and 2015 Butkus Award (for the nation’s premier linebacker) winner.  Smith also won the Butkus Award in highschool, becoming one of two players to every with the Award at both the highschool and collegiate level.  Smith led the team with 113 tackles, 9 tackles for loss and five passes defended.

Jaylon Smith had a successful career at Notre Dame as a leader on the defense.  He would finish his collegiate career in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.  Unfortunately, his was not able to finish the game due to injury (tears to the ACL and LCL).

Strengths:

Jaylon Smith at 6’2″ and 223lbs is a versatile and dynamic linebacker.  Smith has the ability to have an impact on all three downs, he makes plays in the run game primarily through penetration in the backfield and instincts.  He is at his best when he is able to make plays sideline to sideline.  Smith has special closing speed and often makes plays from the backside as well as downfield.  He has the ability to punish ball carriers with big hits converting speed to power.

Smith is a gifted athlete, he is able to run with tight ends down field in coverage and make plays in zone coverage.  He has the ability to takeover games and create turnovers in the passing game.  Jaylon Smith leadership ability elevates the play of those around him, he can put players in position and will step in day one to be the leader of a defense.  A special athlete who erases mismatches and will be highly coveted by defensive coordinators.  He is built for the game today, he can run with pass catching tight ends and running backs.

Weaknesses:

Jaylon Smith has the ability to strike with power, but does struggle to shed blockers.  He will need to increase his strength in order to be effective in the trenches and attacking blockers.  Uses his quickness to get around blockers or strike them in order to build a pile.  Smith relies on his speed and quickness too much sometimes and waits for the play to come to him instead of attacking downhill.  This leads to Smith catching ball carriers instead of bringing his feet and tackling runners.

Projection:

A true sideline to sideline linebacker who has the ability to make plays on all three downs.  Has the athleticism, speed, and quickness required to rusher the passer and make plays in the passing game.  Possesses the physicality and instincts to make tackles for loss in the run game.  Unique skillset and is scheme diverse, can play all the linebacker positions.  Derrick Johnson is the type of three down player that Jaylon Smith compares to.  Smith is the same type of freakish athlete as Derrick Johnson is.  Smith can have the same type of impact on an NFL team and make plays that impact the outcome of games.  He just needs to gain strength and attack downhill upon the snap of the ball.

 

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