Another Smith headed to Chicago?

Will Smith made the successful transition from rapper to actor and now the Ohio State defensive end with the same name will try to translate his dominance of the Big Ten to the NFL. While Lovie Smith hasn't been complimentary of the defensive ends on the roster, can the Bears afford to take one in the first-round for the second straight year?

Even with Michael Haynes and Alex Brown penciled in at left and right end respectively the Bears could go after an edge rusher with the 14th selection. All players have been told to shed pounds, particularly Brown and Haynes. Lovie Smith has also stated that three quality defensive ends are a necessity in his paced system because of constant substitutions. With the release of Phillip Daniels the Bears don't have any depth behind the starters. Joe Tafoya is a solid role player, but counting on him to be a major contributor would be a mistake.

Meaning GM Jerry Angelo might consider adding a pass rusher on day one of the draft. The Bears could have their pick of either the two top defensive ends in the draft. Ohio State's Will Smith and USC's Kenechi Udeze will be the first ends off the board.

Udeze is a good bet to go to Jacksonville Jaguars at 9th pick, while Smith's destination isn't as clear. He has been projected to go as high as 8th overall to Atlanta Falcons and as late as 19th to the Minnesota Vikings.

At 6-foot-3, 268 pounds Smith possesses the body and speed to consistently reach double-digits in sacks. His 4.55 forty time during private workouts further demonstrates his athletic ability. The fact that Smith also plays the run well has only increased his worth leading up to the draft

Smith earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior, an award Haynes won a year ago. Smith also picked up All Conference and All-American accolades. He totaled 49 tackles, 20 for loss and 10.5 sacks last year. Junior numbers included 59/12.5/5.5 which came off the heels of a sophomore campaign when he registered 47/9/4.

TFY Draft Preview Scouting Report
Positive: Explosive defender and versatile lineman productive in a variety of areas. Plays low with good pad level, explodes off the snap and displays speed off the corner or pursuing from the backside. Agile, fluid changing direction and sensational making plays out to the flanks. Rarely off his feet and creates a lot of havoc in the opponents backfield. Effective in space covering tight ends. Deceptively strong, holds his ground against blocks and defends the run. Also smart and quick to diagnose the action or locate the ball.

Negative: Lacks natural bulk and size. Has difficulty with big offensive lineman and pushed from his angle of attack. Gave consideration to entering the '03 draft but was injured and would not have been physically prepared to perform for scouts.

Analysis: Possessing a rare combination of speed, explosion and athleticism, Smith is a complete defensive lineman that impacts the game. An outstanding prospect and excellent value after the eight slot in April's draft.


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