The green light never fully came on for Smith as a pass rusher throughout his four year college tenure, but he's still a rock solid football player up front. Despite being under 240 pounds, he made excellent plays in the run game and was regarded as a leader for a championship squad. The Jets typically deploy much larger edge defenders in their base defense.
A fiery and passionate leader, Smith is a middleweight fighter that embraces being in the arena with the heavyweights.
As a pass rusher, he wins with speed and explosiveness. Before a season ending pectoral injury, he generated pressure on 17 of his 98 pass rush snaps (a whopping 23.5% win rate, per PFF).
He has a quick first step but speed to power rush attempts often hit a stalemate, lacking lower leg drive. Smith had success using a euro step where he would chop down the hands of the tackle and create rush angles to get around his blocker.
Against the run, he’s tremendous darting through gaps and always playing low. Despite his size, he gained excellent leverage at the point of attack when setting the edge.
There’s no denying Smith is a talented football player loaded with intangibles, but he’s still figuring out how to vary his pass rush package. A bigger question than his actual play is if he can stay healthy with his frame and play style in the trenches. If he does, he’ll wreak havoc and lead the charge for a franchise for quite some time.