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A high-school All-American and four-star recruit out of Granite Bay, Calif., Smith shined as a freshman at USC (78 tackles, three interceptions), earning freshman All-American honors and Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He needed surgery to repair torn knee ligaments late in the season but was still ready for 2016, posting 83 tackles (seven for loss) and four passes defensed. Over his final two seasons, he totaled 193 tackles (18.5 for loss) and seven PDs.
Smith has a nice combination of instincts, physicality, toughness and mobility. At 6-foot-2, 238 pounds, he tested pretty well at the NFL Scouting Combine (4.69-second 40-yard dash, 39-inch vertical, 123-inch broad jump) and plays fast on tape. He diagnoses quickly and can take on blocks or slip them in the run game. He also has a good feel for routes and spacing in coverage, rarely taking false steps.
Despite testing well, Smith isn't a top-end athlete, as he can be exposed on perimeter runs or in man coverage against athletic backs and tight ends. His lateral agility is just OK, preventing him from recovering when he overruns ball carriers. While he reads plays well, he can be indecisive, a bigger issue against better athletes. He might need to play in a zone scheme to survive on passing downs.
Projection: Sixth Round
--Field Level Media
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