Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia
Roquan Smith is probably the top off-the-ball linebacker in this draft. He played middle linebacker at Georgia but probably fits best as a Will Linebacker in a 4-3 or a Mack Linebacker in a 3-4. His most impressive feature is his instincts as he reads the play well and then darts to the ballcarrier. He also has sideline to sideline range which suggests that he can be plugged in as a middle linebacker. However, he could still use that range on the outside. He is a smart player who I could see getting the signal calling duty for whatever team drafts him in his second year. I also like that he has good coverage skills as a linebacker and can even be matched up against a tight end or even a wide receiver. He also has the ability to blitz, both from the inside and the outside.
His biggest weakness is the inside rush. He has a hard time getting off blocks with centers and guards. He seems to be more suited to absorb the run blocking of tackles. That is why I could see him being a sam or will linebacker. He has decent strength and maybe with a little more work could be plugged in as a middle linebacker as well.
Roquan Smith is likely a first-rounder who I project deserves to go in the top 10. The reason he may fall out of the top 10 is that he plays inside linebacker and teams just don’t value the position the way they used to. However, with the emergence of running backs like Leonard Fournette, Ezekiel Elliot, and Saquon Barkley, the run stopping linebacker is being valued again. Smith is a very talented linebacker and has all-pro potential. He checks all the boxes that you look for in a linebacker.