PFF scouting report: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame
Below is the PFF draft profile for Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith, which incorporates PFF’s college grades and scouting intel from our team of analysts. To see all of PFF’s 2016 scouting reports, click here.
Weakside linebacker. Potential to develop into the middle/strong side
Stats to know:
Fourth highest pass rushing productivity in the country
What he does best:
• Can play man coverage against backs, tight ends, and even slot receivers. Extremely fluid athlete that moves like a safety in the body of a linebacker
• Ability to line up between as a traditional linebacker as well as over the slot. 22 percent of snaps came outside the tackles
• Natural explosion that shines in pass rushing situations. +13.9 pass rushing grade over past two seasons (127 pass rushes)
• Elite speed to run and chase. Offensive linemen have no chance to cut him off on wide runs and he has the ability to track down running backs from behind.
• Far too timid in the run game. Will contact blockers moving backwards at times. Rarely wants to come stack an offensive lineman.
• Slow to read keys in the running game. Takes false steps much more than you’d like
• Huge missed tackle issue as a sophomore (18 MTs on 118 attempts). Remedied as a junior (9 MTs on 130 attempts)
• Serious knee injury sustained January, 1st at the Fiesta Bowl puts his rookie season and career in doubt
DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions. Levy at the moment is far more willing to attack blockers in the run game, but I see that kind of potential from Smith when he blows up backs and tight ends as a blitzer. Both allow you to scheme differently with their coverage ability.
His injury would terrify me as a GM, but we here at PFF aren’t doctors so we’ll let them figure out the long-term ramifications. A fully healthy Smith is a rare coverage tool that has tremendous value in certain defenses.