2014 NFL Draft: Marcus Smith scouting report

Chuck Cook -US PRESSWIRE

A look at another edge rusher Marcus Smith from Louisville.

Earlier this week we took a look at one possible early round pass rusher the 49ers have on their radar in Demarcus Lawrence. Today we check out another early round edge rushing candidate Marcus Smith from Louisville.

The Basics:

Height: 6-3
Weight: 251 lbs
Arm length: 34"
Hands: 10"
40 yard dash: 4.68
Bench: 23 reps
Vertical jump: 35"
Broad jump: 121"
3-cone: 7.48
20 yard shuttle: 4.47

Pros:

  • Versatile, hybrid style line backer capable of pressuring the pocket from any spot on the field.
  • Very good initial burst off the line with quickness to the edge
  • Knack for causing sack-fumbles (4 forced fumbles in 2013)
  • Very effective on inside stunts (similar to Aldon Smith)
  • Above average athleticism with some experience in coverage
  • Excels in deflecting passes at line of scrimmage

Cons:

  • Needs to develop more of a repertoire of pass rushing moves
  • Will benefit from a year or two in an NFL strength program - needs to add bulk
  • Arm length suggests he should have easier time disengaging blockers but Smith needs to refine technique and learn to play with that advantage
  • One year major producer in college
  • Inconsistent. Will appear dominant in some games and disappear in others.

Doing Your Homework:

Check out the bowl game vs. Miami below. You can also checkout Draftbreakdown.com to see more from Smith against Rutgers, UConn, Houston, and USF.

What they're saying:

  • NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah said on Twitter:

"Alert defender who locates the ball quickly and shows good balance to pursue laterally and downfield. Shows vision and savvy as a walk-up blitzer, timing his rush the snap nicely to penetrate his initial gap or when looping on stunts."

Why he fits the 49ers:

The 49ers defense has been using their OLBs in a variety of pass rushing situations in the last couple of season. Adding a versatile athlete like Smith would further allow that trend. In fact, with Smith's skills I'd imagine a ‘NASCAR' style package (similar to that of several teams who line up four defensive ends along the line of scrimmage) where M. Smith, A. Smith, Corey Lemonier, and Ahmad Brooks would all be on the field together as a legitimate option.

Marcus, like Aldon did as a rookie, needs to get better in the run game but with the depth the 49ers have he would probably be used exclusively in passing situations. Smith's aggressive, attacking style would fit in nicely in San Francisco. He's also extremely comfortable blitzing inside off stunts, something the 49ers do extremely well.

Upon arriving on campus in 2010, Smith made the switch to LB and then eventually to DE/OLB in 2011. Why does this make him a possible fit for the 49ers? Well...he's only been rushing the QB for three years and has already shown incredible natural ability. With the proper coaching (like he'd receive in SF) the sky is the limit for Smith.

Why he doesn't fit the 49ers:

Smith lacks the size most teams like in an edge rusher. He seemed to benefit from a scheme change in college during his senior year leading to one year of incredible production. Scouts are very leery of guys with only one year of college production.

Of course one reason he may not fit is the cost to acquire him. Smith is a projected day to prospect and most believe he'll be around in the back half of the second round. While there isn't much to be said for late round edge rushers, the 49ers may not view the expense as a wise investment if, in their eyes, there are bigger needs to fill.

Conclusion:

Marcus Smith has as much upside as any player that will be drafted in rounds two or three. Given the lack of depth at this position in this year's draft it wouldn't be surprising to see him go off the board early on day two.

Smith's ability to pressure the pocket from either side and up the middle is unique and makes him an intriguing option for the 49ers. Furthermore, Smith's skill set could even let him see time as an inside linebacker where he has enough experience dropping into coverage to be effective. I like his fit and upside as a true pass rusher better than Damarcus Lawrence's and would welcome his addition should the price be right.

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