Only quarterbacks hold more value in today's NFL than pass rushers and thus, Western Kentucky defensive end Quanterus Smith, who led the country with an average of 1.25 sacks in 2012, is certain to attract plenty of attention from scouts ... even though he won't be able to work out at the combine or potentially at all before the draft.
Smith was leading the nation with 12 1/2 sacks when he tore the ACL in his left knee against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 17. He underwent surgery to repair the ligament Nov. 29 and hasn't been able to work out sufficiently since. In fact, he told NFLDraftScout.com that he doesn't plan to start running on his knee until he leaves the combine early next week and isn't sure he'll be able to work out at Western Kentucky's Pro Day.
As such, teams may have to draft him based on the faith that he'll recover from the injury, making the medical reports clubs receive on him as critical to his draft stock as any player in the 2013 draft.
The 6-foot-4, 253-pound Smith lacks the bulk teams prefer at defensive end and is the first to admit he needs to get better at setting the edge against the run. He is, however, a talented pass rusher who stepped up his game against top competition, including posting three sacks against the vaunted Alabama offensive line in the second game of the 2012 season for both clubs.