Official Scouting Report: Smith

This is information that we guarantee you won't find anywhere else: the scouting report for D.J. Smith that was provided to all NFL teams for their draft prep. Get the scoop on his entire skill-set and who he most closely compares to among current NFL players.

NFL Scouting's report on D.J. Smith

Player School Jersey Year Entered Position
SMITH, Darryl "DJ" Appalachian State 9 2007 Weak-side Linebacker
Height Weight Time (40) Time (20) Time (10)
5:10.5 239 4.88 2.87 1.77
20-yd Shuttle 60-yd Shuttle Three-cone Drill Vertical Jump Broad Jump
4.45 11.87 7.35 31" 8'8"
Bench Press Arms Hands Wing Span Position Pro Rank
225x20 32" 9 3/4" 76 7/8" Middle Linebacker
2010 Best Games Samford, Elon, The Citadel, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern, Florida, Western Illinois, Villanova
2010 Worst Games Chattanooga, Jacksonville, Furman
2009 Best Games East Carolina, Samford, The Citadel, Wofford, Georgia Southern, Chattanooga, Richmond, Montana
2009 Worst Games Furman, Western Carolina, South Carolina State
Body Structure Smith has a thick frame with room for additional growth, but lacks ideal height you look for in a outside linebacker (more suited for an inside slot in a 3-4 alignment). He has good chest and shoulder muscle definition, lean waist, good bubble, well-developed legs, and thick thighs. He also has defined calves.
General Report
Athletic Ability Smith is more of a downhill player whose closing burst is much better than his timed speed. He is not explosive and may be a bit stiff in space, but he shows good balance and low pad level to keep the action in front of him. He might get engulfed by larger blockers due to size issues, but he has a strong hand punch to shock and jolt. He shows decent acceleration and change of direction agility when trying to contain the outside run. He runs with a normal stride and shows good body control, getting to the ball quickly thanks to his hip snap. You might call him a classic overachiever, as he gets more out of his field savvy than athletic skills. He just seems to have that intuitive knack and feel to make plays in pursuit (see 2010 Samford, Elon and Villanova games).
Football Sense Smith plays with good field awareness. He has the ability to see plays develop and make quick adjustments on the field. He takes the plays from the board to the field with no problems. He is a very low rep type who does a nice job of making adjustments and calls. He is best when locating the ball carrier on the outside or playing on the move to compensate for a lack of ideal height. He did get a bit overaggressive at times as a senior and is just adequate biting on play action, but when playing in control, he can get into position to make the tackle.
Character Smith is a good character with no known off-field issues. He is a good student with a very positive attitude. He does the extras to improve his craft and is a quiet, respected team leader. He is self-motivated and very coachable. He is compliant and well-respected by teammates and the staff. He is an unselfish, unassuming type who has played three different positions during his career and takes pride in his "team first" work ethic.
Competitiveness Smith plays with a good nasty streak and while he might get engulfed by bigger blockers, he does not hesitate taking on double teams. He uses his hands with force to play off blocks and there is no questioning his high motor, though he can get over-aggressive at times. He is the type that will play through injuries that would sideline others and there are no concerns about his durability. He has that "old school" toughness taking on lead blockers.
Athletic Report
Key and Diagnostic Abilities Smith has decent read-&-react skills, but needs to show more explosion off the snap (will sometimes hesitate and this lets blockers get him neutralized in the second level; see 2010 Jacksonville and Furman games). When he sees block schemes, he will move quickly to close, but when he gets over-aggressive, he will run past plays at times. He is best playing on the move, as he seems more comfortable closing on plays when working downhill than giving chase along the sidelines. His lack of height is sometimes an advantage when sifting through trash, as he knows how to slip under blocks to shed at the point of attack.
Playing Strength and Explosion Smith is a solid hitter with good wrap-up technique. He has good hand strength to control and get off isolated blocks and uses his low center of gravity and natural leverage to make plays in front of him. He is a downhill player at the point of attack and will not hesitate to throw his body into blockers (see 2010 Samford, Elon and Georgia Southern games). He shows good hand usage on contact, delivering enough strike to stun and jolt the lead blocker. He is quick to shed working through trash and maintains balance, but must be more active using his hands to split double teams. He might get overpowered or struggle to get off offensive linemen at times, but he has the instincts to slip past and avoid when on the move.
Lateral Pursuit/Range Smith is better suited for an inside position, as he does well playing downhill. Despite decent change of direction agility, he lacks the explosive range to generate a long chase on the boundaries. He has enough acceleration needed to chase plays down the line, but you would like to see him more fluid when redirecting. He has good body control with the ability to sift through trash, but when he gets too reckless, he will over-run the cutbacks.
Use of Hands Smith has decent hand placement taking on blocks and good strength to shock and jolt. He shows savvy moves getting his hands on to the tight end to reroute. He just needs to use those hands more effectively to protect his body and keep blockers off his feet and chest. He also has good hand softness to pluck and snatch the interception.
Tackling Ability Smith is a consistent downhill player who can generate above average power behind his hits. He has the low pad level and wrap-up skills, knowing how to attack the outside leg of the runner to impede the opponent's forward progress (see 2010 Samford, Elon and Western Illinois games). He needs to be more assertive with his hands to avoid low blocks on the move, but if he keeps plays in front of him, he does a nice job of locking on and dragging down the ball carrier. He has good open field body control and adequate hip snap to impact into the opponent. On the outside, he will revert to grab and drag-down tackles at times, but is generally a solid wrap-up hitter when he plays in control.
Run Defense Against the inside run, Smith can get absorbed by the bigger blockers, but when he keeps his hands inside his framework, he has the initial step to take on the lead blocker to push him back and stack. When he keeps his pads low, he can slip, avoid and spin off blocks to make plays. When he lets offensive linemen into his body, he will get washed out. Against the outside run, he needs to do a better job of taking proper angles and running under blocks, as he tends to get cut off more often vs. the outside running game. He knows how to use his strength effectively to plug holes and push back the lead blocker, but when he gets too high in his stance, he is slow to get off blocks.
Pass Defense Smith is best when covering in the short area. He gets good depth dropping back in the zone, but lacks the explosion to recover when beaten on long routes. He is a bit stiff in his hips when needing to turn suddenly. While he has good short area speed, he does not have the sudden burst or long speed to run with the receiver throughout the route. He has good mirror and shade ability in the short area, and better hip swivel coming out of his backpedal as a senior, but can not stay with his man in the deep area. He might be limited by a lack of top-end speed, but when he collides, reroutes or mirrors tight ends and backs underneath, he is capable of making the play (teams completed 39.29% of passes targeted into his area, holding the opponents to an average of 3.58 yards per pass attempt).
Zone Defense Smith is an adequate zone player, but is better when taking drops inside the short area rather than playing deep in the zone. When he gets a proper read on play action (will get fooled some there, though), he shows better anticipation of where the ball is going. He is still a work in progress making the switch-offs when working in the zone, but is still better playing in the short area due to a lack of sustained quickness. He sees the ball well and has good awareness, but is more of a trailer type due to deep speed issues.
Pass Rush and Blitz For some reason, the team did not use him much as a pass rusher. On the blitz, Smith has a good burst off the edge, but when he comes off the snap high, he can be walled off. He lacks the girth to move out the offensive lineman, relying on his rip and swim moves to squeeze through traffic. On the rare times he was asked to blitz, he did show the ability to come hard with good timing. He has the low center of gravity to slip blockers or hit with leverage and power to knock down backfield blockers and disrupt runs, but you would have hoped the team would have used him more to collapse the pocket.
Compares To JoLONN DUNBAR-New Orleans…Like Dunbar, Smith is an efficient player whose best attribute is getting everyone lined up properly. He might lack ideal size that teams look for, but his tenacity and ability to keep plays in front of him, along with his potential as a gunner on special teams could make him a nice late round/free agent find.

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