Scouting Report | LB Roquan Smith – Georgia


Personal Background

  • Attended Macon County High School in Montezuma, Georgia
  • Academic All American
  • Originally committed to UCLA, then two days later changed to Georgia after UCLA’s linebackers coach jumped to the NFL

Athletic Background

High school

  • four-star prospect
  • four-star prospect
  • four-star prospect


  • 2017 Associated Press All-America First Team
  • 2017 Walter Camp All-America First Team
  • 2017 American Football Coaches Association All-America First Team
  • 2017 Football Writers Association of America All-America First Team
  • 2017 The Sporting News All-America First Team
  • 2017 Phil Steele All-America First Team
  • 2017 Butkus Award Winner
  • 2017 AP SEC Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2017 Coaches’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2017 Coaches’ & AP All-SEC 1st Team

Injury history

  • 2017
    • Torn pectoral muscle


38 FBS Games

  • Pro Football Reference
    • 146 solo tackles
    • 252 total tackles
    • 20.5 tackles for loss
    • 6.5 QB sacks
    • 3 pass deflections
    • 3 fumbles forced
    • 3 fumbles recovered
  • Pro Football Focus
    • 13% Run stop percentage (6th)
    • 37.8 Pass rush productivity (5th)
    • 26.8 Tackling efficiency (5th)
    • 0.56 Yards per cover/snap (36th)
    • 9.6 Cover snaps/target (71st)
    • 4.81 Yards/tackle (71st)

Film Reviewed

  • Alabama
  • Auburn
  • Missouri
  • Notre Dame
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee


  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 6′ 7/8″
  • Weight: 236 pounds
  • Official 40 time: 4.51


  • Well-proportioned, angular linebacker with top-tier athleticism
    • Very good speed, lateral agility, quickness and explosiveness, on the fringe of elite across the board
  • As consistent of a playmaker as they come
  • Very good mental toughness, no moment too big
    • Forces fourth down on several occasions thanks to film study and play recognition
  • Tracking the ball
  • The best mental processing skills in this class
  • Calls out plays before they occur
  • Consistently takes the proper angles to the ball with his ‘hunt’ drive in full force, along with the ability to consistently make tackles in the open field
  • Immediately leverages his gap
  • Leads with hands
  • RARELY fooled by misdirection, eye candy, or split flow
  • Avoids traffic and over-the-top scooping offensive linemen on outside runs due to quick recognition and speed
  • Sticks to his keys, quickly diagnoses gap runs, stays tight to the double team, inserts into the running back’s entry point before pulling offensive linemen
  • Does not hesitate to insert into gaps on duo run calls, has the speed to chase down the running back as he attempts to bounce it
  • Elite recognition of screens and draws
    • Beats offensive linemen to the set up spot and makes the tackle
  • Very good at pattern matching
    • Able to recognize route concepts, possesses the speed stay in phase with WR routes in Cover 3 match
  • Speed and change of direction to match up with running backs in man coverage
    • Sideline-to-sideline speed to match running backs wide on flare routes or wheel routes
  • Displays the discipline and elite zone eyes in zone coverage, can spot drop or match receivers, reads the QB and explodes towards the intended receiver
  • Sonar-like awareness on threats entering his zone, understanding the the overlap area between zones, and knows when to peel off receiver and pass on threat to neighboring defender
  • Supports in coverage on underneath routes when teammates are in trail mode vs. crossing routes
  • As a pass rusher:
    • Perfect timing on green dog blitzes
    • Utilizes burst and speed to attack passers
    • Short area burst and change of direction make him a difficult block for running backs, able to avoid cuts


  • Height and weight are well below average
  • Not a linebacker that you want playing the bubble often, unless protected by good defensive tackles
  • Tackling grip can lose effectiveness the faster he is running and versus stronger backs when in chase mode
  • Does not cover much ground in back pedal when dropping in zone coverage
    • If not stacked, can stick to blocks by linemen, lose ground
  • When isolated vs. WR, at times peeks at the top of the route, creating just enough separation for the receiver
  • Will struggle to deter passes into the intermediate/fringe deep area of the field due to lack of height and length, especially versus confident, accurate passers


Roquan Smith is a top-five player in this draft. He has all of the physical and mental tools that you look for in a linebacker. His processing skills are elite, has the athleticism to follow through on the quick diagnosis of plays, and the finishing trait that is needed at the NFL level. When you look at his film you do not need to dig deep to know that he is always in the film room, studying his opponents’ plays and tendencies. Not a game goes by in which you don’t see him calling out the plays.

He may be a little short and light in the back end, but he is today’s linebacker: twitched up and fluid, with the ability to run with most skilled players wearing a different color jersey. If the team that drafts him is a base 4-3 front, has a strong run-defending defensive line, and is able to consistently keep him clean to cause disruption in the run game and the freedom to patrol the middle of the field, he will be a Pro Bowler sooner than later.

Smith grades out as 5.5, a high first round grade, and I expect him to be a difference maker from day one.




Sideline-to-sideline speed


The ability to avoid blocks, and speed and angles to make up ground.



Smith runs step-for-step with the running back, leveraging the ball perfectly, senses the cutback just as easily as the running back does.


Incredible mental toughness; 3rd down and short, and Smith ends the play with a little chin music short of the sticks.




Puts his many hours of film study to work.


He may not be the biggest linebacker, but he has no trouble tracking the ball.



Smith takes great angles to the ball. Man coverage vs. the running back, closes the gap and finishes.


The Bulldogs are in what appears to be Cover 3 match, very similar to how the Seahawks play it. As the #3 WR gets vertical, Smith must turn the zone coverage into man. He flips his hips and runs with the WR.


Finds threats coming into his zone, takes them away as options, then passes them on to teammates. Leads to a sack.


Setting the defense, then finds the threat and shuts him down.


Good timing on the blitz, works through the running back and registers a sack.


The defensive structure doesn’t keep Smith clean and he is unable to disengage.