Nolan Smith NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 238 pounds
2023 NFL Draft Nolan Smith Scouting Report
The former number one overall recruit from 2019 may not be the first pass rusher off the board this draft, but he may just be the one generating the most buzz. Nolan Smith stole the show at the NFL Combine as he put up shocking number after shocking number. As if running a 4.39 40 yard dash was not enough, he proceeded to also put up impressive numbers at the broad jump and vertical as well. Any questions about him going in the first round no longer exist.
Georgia was littered with NFL talent on defense, with their key players mostly going in the first round last year. The 2023 NFL draft could certainly witness another run on Georgia Defenders. As some may look at having an abundance of talent around him as a knock against Smith, it can help explain why his numbers maybe do not jump off the page. This past season Smith started as the alpha dog in the pass rushing role. His season was off to a hot start until an injury derailed his season in October.
While Nolan Smith has experience playing and watching a national championship game, he values both experiences. While Smith acknowledges there was nothing like being out there and winning along side his teammates, he did learn a lot from being on the sideline and continuing to strive for excellence in his role as team captain. His impact on his teammates can be seen as they watched him cruise through his forty yard dash at the combine.
- Elite speed coming off the edge, flashed at combine with a 4.39 40;
- Superior change of direction, can truly cover sideline to sideline;
- Rarely bites on option plays, probably the best run stopper in the draft;
- Can be relied on in coverage to hold his own;
- Will fit most schemes whether he is a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 sam linebacker;
- A team leader who leads by example.
- Size is a concern, he will have to put on some weight at the next level;
- Loses ground too frequently when double teamed;
- Torn pectoral may give perception he is injury prone;
- Needs more pass rushing moves in his tool-belt;
- Wingspan is average;
- While he played with a bunch of other NFL talent at Georgia, the stats don’t jump off the page.
NFL Comparison: Haason Reddick
Projection: Mid-First Round
Nolan Smith is one of the players that helped his draft stock tremendously at the combine. Smith is another example of why players generating buzz at the proper time is essential. While scouts may view Smith as more of a project, he does possess speed, coverage skills, and awareness for the position that you can put against anyone in this draft class. While he cannot control how tall he is, what his wing span is, or what injuries he has had, the things within his control he has proven he can master. In the right fit with the right coaching, Nolan Smith could become a menace for opposing offenses.
Main Image: Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports