Preston Smith, DE

School: Mississippi State  |  Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Stone Mountain, GA
Height/Weight: 6-5 / 271 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.742.73-24 34-4.287.07
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.712.731.6024 3410'1"4.287.07

Player Overview

A three-star defensive end recruit out of high school, Smith committed to Mississippi State over Kentucky and a few other programs.

He played sparingly as a true freshman in 2011 before seeing more action as a valuable reserve in 2012, recording 4.5 sacks and 35 tackles. Smith started 11 games in 2013 as a junior, posting 44 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He emerged as one of the SEC's best defenders in 2014 as a senior, leading the team with 15.0 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries, adding 48 tackles and two forced fumbles. Smith earned First Team All-SEC honors and earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week three straight weeks at one point. He earned an invitation to the 2015 Senior Bowl.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Passes the eye test with a tall, long build and above average wingspan...nice job holding the point of attack, anchoring well with knee bend and balanced leverage...heavy punch and will jar blockers with his hands, especially when he has a step or two of momentum...uses his arm extension to keep room between him and blockers while tracking the ball...nice job working off contact, showing improved hand usage once engaged to dispose of blockers.

Attacks gaps with his initial quickness and tough to slow down as an interior rusher - effective arm over swim move...good ankle flection to bend around the edge and press the pocket...above average body length helps with his tackling radius, unlocking his hips at contact and striking through his target...better than expected pursuit skills...two blocked kicks on special teams in 2014...different motivation after his daughter was born (Dec. 2013)...versatile experience at both left and right defensive end, moving to a one-technique role on obvious passing downs...good production on his resume with 21.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks in 24 starts.

WEAKNESSES: Not a loose mover and lacks ideal closing burst...doesn't own the edge speed to consistently win with athleticism alone...has some joint tightness and lacks the start/stop momentum to consistently turn the corner - forced to slow his momentum when gearing down...strong hands, but needs to be more violent to do a better job shedding blocks.

Needs to keep his feet through contact and stay off the ground...plays too tall, allowing blockers to get under his pads...part of a heavy rotation and received plenty of rest to be fresh...most of his production came as a senior.

SUMMARY: The light bulb started to illuminate for Smith over the summer (newborn daughter was a driving force of motivation) and it was at full glow a few games into the season, earning SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors three straight weeks at one point. His versatility is the key to his ability, lining up inside and outside and attacking the point of attack with his power and long arms.

Smith will never be a twitchy rusher who will consistently win the edge with speed, but he has the length, strength and mind-set to hold the edge and provide some pass rush potential, especially when moved inside as a gap penetrator - fits as a left defensive end in a 4-3 or as a five-technique defensive end in the Kareem Martin mold.

--Dane Brugler

CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre


CBSSports Shop

Men's Nike Heathered Royal Denver Broncos Historic Logo Tri-Blend T-Shirt

NFL Nike Gear
Get your favorite team today!
Shop Now