College: Ohio State
Strengths: Will Smith’s role in the Ohio State defense is to penetrate the backfield and disrupt the offense. He is a classic tweener – an edge rusher who is somewhere between a defensive end and an outside linebacker. As a linebacker, he has great size and the pass rush skills to put heat on opposing quarterbacks.
In the national championship game against Miami, Smith made eight tackles, including two for loss and a sack. His best game of 2002 was the season opener against Texas Tech, when he made eight tackles, including four behind the line and two sacks, and knocked down a pass. Smith’s biggest single play of the year came against Michigan, when he recovered a fumble to stop a Wolverine fourth-quarter drive in Ohio State territory, allowing the Buckeyes to hold on for the win and earning them a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.
Areas of Concern: Smith is a 4-3 defensive end for Ohio State and has very little experience dropping into coverage and playing from a two-point stance. He currently weighs approximately 260 lbs. and could outgrow the 3-4 outside linebacker position if he bulks up after the season in order to try to show that he is big enough to be a down end in the NFL.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? If Smith shows that he is athletic enough to hang with backs and tight ends in coverage, he should get serious consideration as an outside linebacker. He has already shown that he can put heat on the quarterback as well as blow up running plays in the backfield. If the Texans are looking for another young outside linebacker to pair with Antwan Peek down the road, Smith may be on the short list.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca
Will Smith’s 2002 Stats G TCK TFL SACK FF FR INT 14 59 12.5 5.5 1 1 1Will Smith Return to The War Room
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