DE MARCUS SMITH, LOUISVILLE

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6’3” – 252 lbs. – 4.70e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2010: 3 – 1.0 – 0.0 (LB)
2011: 12 – 6.5 – 5.5, 2 FF, 1 PD (DE)
2012: 29 – 7.0 – 4.0, 2 QBH, 2 FF, 2 PD, 1 INT
2013: 42 – 18.5 – 14.5, 12 QBH, 4 FF, 3 PD, 1 BK

OVERVIEW:

High school quarterback who converted to defense in college. Played in nine games as a freshman, starting the season-opener at linebacker but primarily contributing on special-teams. Prior to the 2011 season, converted to defensive end, starting five of ten games played, then all thirteen as a junior and as a senior. Was named to the All-ACC First Team in 2013.

POSITIVES:

•    Overall combination of height and bulk is solid; added nearly twenty pounds of bulk.
•    Production escalated significantly from junior to senior season, encouraging progress.
•    Active hand use allows him to avoid getting stuck on blocks, fairly creative rusher.
•    High-motor player who gives good effort on a consistent basis, especially vs. pass.
•    Has experience rushing out of both two-and-three-point stances, played LB in 2010.
•    Can bend the edge but doesn’t always rely on outside rush, can win inside as well.
•    Uses an impressive spin which is surprisingly advanced given his limited time at end.
•    Inexperience may suggest the presence of some untapped potential at the position.

NEGATIVES:

•    Occasionally runs himself out of the play by taking too wide an angle on outside rushes.
•    Has some problems with leverage, tends to get too upright immediately out of stance.
•    Relies on his speed, isn’t someone who routinely drives blockers back with bull rushes.
•    Combination of average strength, wide rush angles limit effectiveness in run defense.
•    Dropped into coverage on occasion but footwork/weight distribution are inconsistent.
•    Can be a bit slow to react to the ball being snapped, which neutralizes his suddenness.
•    Relatively inexperienced, having only recently converted to defense and defensive end.

SUMMARY:

That Smith only recently converted to defense (linebacker in 2010, end in 2011), but is already such a productive pass rusher will make him an intriguing developmental pass rusher, whether as an end in a four-man front or a linebacker in a 3-4. His physical attributes should meet the minimum requirements of almost every team, with his hand use, movement skills, and motor providing a solid foundation on which to build. At the pro level, improving his functional strength, keeping his pad level down, and refining his drops in coverage would make him a candidate to expand his role defensively, perhaps even working into a starting lineup.

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