DE, Dawuane Smoot: DRAFTED
Round 3, Pick 68
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
6-foot-3, 264 pounds
4.77-second 40-yard dash
29.5-inch vertical jump
7.18-second cone drill
33.25-inch arm length
An unheralded recruit out of Groveport, Ohio, Smoot chose Illinois over Indiana and several non-power-five scholarship offers. The high school track star was forced into early duty due to a poor roster at Illinois. He bulked up about 35 pounds as a sophomore -- despite a torn elbow ligament -- and showed some flashes as an underclassmen LEO position -- a stand-up pass rusher -- in Tim Banks' defense.
Smoot broke out his junior season, totaling 40 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and three forced fumbles. That production created some offseason buzz that Smoot could be a first-round prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Smoot had a solid senior season -- and was a team captain -- under new head coach Lovie Smith but did not put up the gaudy numbers most had hoped. Smoothad 56 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. But he was a consistent disruptor in the backfield and attention to him helped teammate Carroll Phillips break out on the other edge.
Smoot would have benefited from a redshirt season but was the Illini's best pass rusher since Whitney Mercilus and has proven he can play with his hand on the ground or as a stand-up pass rusher. His versatility should help him stick in the NFL for a while, and he has the ceiling as a solid starter.
"A strong, base, 4-3 end with the strength to stack the corner and enough agility and pass-rush skill to generate some edge pressure and move the pocket. Left evaluators consistently desiring more after a sensational junior season that placed him in the first-round conversation, though has athletic tools to work with and eventual starter traits." - Nolan Nawrocki, NFL Draft 2017 Preview