Jaguars: The emergence of Telvin Smith
While most of the press on the Jacksonville Jaguars has focus on the performances of quarterback Blake Bortles, a Jaguars rookie on the other side of the ball has managed to impress while sliding under the radar. This player is linebacker Telvin Smith, a fifth round selection out of Florida State.
After starting his rookie campaign slowly with a -5.3 overall grade as a rotational player in the first six games, Smith seems to have turned the corner. A breakout performance (+5.6 overall) in Week 7 combined with the loss of starting linebacker Paul Posluszny, has given Smith a larger role since, and he hasn’t disappointed. In his last five games Smith has a cumulative +10.7 overall grade, eighth-best among all NFL linebackers over that period of time.
Smith has been particularly strong in coverage, ranking second among qualifying 4-3 outside linebackers by allowing just 0.61 Yards per Cover Snap, conceding 25 catches for 146 yards and one touchdown, while also bagging an interception and batting two passes. Smith’s strong play earned him an every-down role in Week 12, and while the Jaguars lost, Smith played well, accumulating 10 tackles and eight defensive stops. His 19.4 Run Stop Percentage led all qualifying 4-3 outside linebackers for the week.