It’s looking more and more like the San Francisco 49ers are going to need to draft a linebacking prospect as Reuben Foster goes through his legal proceedings. One of the many names mocked to them is Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith. Smith has his pros and cons, particularly in comparisons with fellow linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. However, one of the more commonly brought up issues is abilities in the line of blocks.
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick brought this up, but was quick to bring up another linebacker who had the same issues in 2007:
I remember when the word on Patrick Willis in ‘07 draft was that he “didn’t take on blocks well enough” and was too stiff to be “great”. How did that turn out? Save the Roquan doesn’t take on blocks bs. Turn on the Tennessee game. Tell me he can’t take on after watching that...— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 17, 2018
Yep, he went there. Riddick just said Smith is similar to 49ers retired linebacker and hard hitting juggernaut Patrick Willis. If that’s not high praise for a prospect I don’t know what is.
Riddick and NFL analyst Greg Cosell are both huge fans of Smith, and view him ahead and Edmunds. Riddick even said earlier this week that if the draft featured Smith vs. Reuben Foster, “I’m not so sure I wouldn’t pick Roquan Smith.” Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but he’s clearly a big fan of Smith.
With the severity of Foster’s charges being understood, a Smith draft isn’t out of the realm of possibility. If he develops into half the beast that Willis was, the 49ers could have the makings of another scary linebacking group depending on Foster’s status.