The 2023 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. Here is the Nolan Smith 2023 NFL Draft Profile.
Nolan Smith Background
Position: Edge Rusher
Size: 6-foot-3, 235 pounds
2022 stats: 18 total tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 pass defended (eight games played)
Smith was a key contributor on several really good defenses at Georgia. After sustaining an injury, he missed the remainder of his senior season.
Out of high school, Smith was a five-star recruit, who some considered the best prospect in the country. He registered 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks as a freshman. Smith then produced similarly as a sophomore in 2020 with 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. As a junior Smith helped Georgia win a National Championship with eight tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. For his senior season, Smith played eight games before tearing his pec and being ruled out for the rest of the season. He had seven tackles for loss and three sacks.
Smith has the option to return to school for another season, but is likely heading to the 2023 NFL Draft. He is a projected first or second-round pick.
Nolan Smith Strengths
Smith was ranked so highly as a recruit because of his athleticism and that did translate to the collegiate level. He has good quickness and speed, which allows him to get a good jump at the snap of the ball. Smith is able to change direction well too, which helps him track down ball carriers and shoot inside gaps in pass-rushing situations. With his athleticism comes nice flexibility to bend around the edge.
While he is an edge rusher, Smith’s ability to stop the run is what he is better at right now. He sets the edge very well and contains running backs to the middle of the field. Smith sheds blocks well and shows good pursuit. He is a good tackler once he reaches the ball carrier. His ability to stay disciplined against counters, reverses and read options is also very impressive.
His motor is one of his best traits. He constantly works to get after the quarterback and rarely gives up on plays. A lot of his sacks are because of his continued effort. He also shows good pursuit and is able to track ball carriers down, even if the play isn’t to his side.
Nolan Smith Weaknesses
The first thing that teams will look at for Smith is his torn pec. He should be able to make a full recovery and have all the athleticism that he had before the injury. The question will be when he will be ready to work out and start the process of his pro career.
Smith does not have the best measurables for an NFL edge rusher. He is shorter, lighter and has shorter arms than most players in the draft. Smith has decent strength for his size, but can add to his frame to be a more effective player overall. His shorter arms could make it tougher to disengage blocks from NFL offensive linemen who do possess good length.
Right now, Smith wins in pass rush situations mostly just because of his athleticism, flexibility and effort. He needs to add more pass rushing moves to his arsenal. To go with it, he also needs to add counter moves to use, as sometimes he doesn’t have the best plan to combat offensive linemen. Smith can be a predictable pass rusher and that will not suit him well at the next level.
Projected Draft Range: First Round Pick-Second Round Pick
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