Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has broken down why Terrance Smith needs a good performance at the NFL Combine.
Long linebacker with very good athletic ability. Lowers pad level to improve leverage when taking on blockers. Instinctive and responsible in his play against the run. Won't usually over-pursue and takes quality angles to the ball making adjustments for blockers and running back speed. Plays with outstanding pursuit speed and looks at home when he's chasing. Can range from sideline to sideline. Closing burst gives him potential as a blitzer. Showed resilience coming back to play at a high level after missing time due to high ankle sprain. Football bloodlines. Father was a standout receiver at Clemson and DeAndre Hopkins is his cousin.
Frame might be too thin to play inside. Plays upright after the snap hovering towards the ball rather than aggressively scraping. Needs to be better at playing with squared pads. Waits on second level rather than attacking downhill. Had relatively low number of tackles for losses during his time with Seminoles. Very little bang behind his pads. Wildly inconsistent tackler with 24 missed tackles over last two years. Drifts in coverage and doesn't play with same instincts he shows against run. Had no passes defensed this year. Took medical redshirt in 2011, missed two games with neck injury in 2014 and four games this year with high ankle sprain.
Tall linebacker who could play inside in a 3-4 or outside in a 4-3. Smith has the chase speed to be a factor all over the field, but the production doesn?t match up with the athleticism. Smith doesn't have the play strength to consistently finish as a tackler and he shows a surprising lack of tackles for loss considering his speed and the defensive linemen he has played behind. As a former sprinter and jumper in high school, Smith should star at the combine which could get him drafted ahead of where his production says he should go.
For Terrance Smith's full breakdown click here.