2018 Raiders Draft Profile: LB Roquan Smith

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2018 Raiders Draft Profile

Name: Roquan Smith

Position: Linebacker

School: Georgia

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 225 lbs.

 

Team Fit- Not only is Roquan Smith the best inside linebacker to come out this year, but the Raiders are sorely in need of a legitimate threat in the middle. Recently, Oakland relied on either over-the-hill veterans or late-round picks to shore up the defense. He stops the run with ferocity. His pre-snap reads alone could bolster the front seven. As a matter of fact, if NaVorro Bowman prices himself out, Smith could slide into that spot.

Tackling

Very sure tackler with great instincts to know where the ball is, rarely misses tackles and has great closing speed. Rarely arm tackles, had 70 total tackles against the run and 37 stops against the run, and did not miss a tackle all year when playing the run. Both were most in FBS without a missed tackle.

Strength- Smith is strong, even for an inside linebacker. His strength increases by his ability to read and react along with his above average speed.

Speed

Smith possesses elite speed for a middle linebacker. In addition, he closes quickly after diagnosing the play. His read-react ability rates as superior. Moreover, he flows from sideline to sideline with ease. He drops back in coverage and can cover quick tight ends and wide receivers, if needed. At the same time, Smith must harness that quickness. At times, he will overpursue.

Agility

One of his greatest strengths is his ability to use his strength and speed in tandem.

Block Shedding

For an average sized linebacker, Smith does a superb job of disengaging. His quickness, strength, and speed make it tough for offensive linemen to maintain blocks on him. In addition, his hand placement allows for a quick win.

Scheme

Smith can play in 3-4 scheme, but is suited for a 4-3 scheme as the WILL linebacker.

Intangibles

Roquan Smith anchored the Georgia defense. Smith grew in his role, becoming one of the nation’s best linebackers in the process. He does everything right. Smith finished as a finalist for three of the nation’s top awards, the Bednarik, Butkus, and Bronko Nagurski Awards. Smith took home the Butkus award for college football’s best linebacker.

Coverage

As a middle linebacker, Smith can drop into coverage and cover running backs, tight ends, and slot receivers as well.  Traditionally, the Raiders struggle with covering tight ends. For this reason alone, Smith merits discussion.

 

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