Brandon Smith NFL Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

NFL Prospect Profile: Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State

Name: Brandon Smith

School: Penn State

Year: Jr

Position: Linebacker

Measurables: 6’3 1/2, 250 lbs

 

Stats: 

 

General Info:

Attended Louisa County High School in Louisa, Virginia. Three-time letterman and a two-time captain. He played in the Under Armour All-America Game. Smith was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia. He collected 135 total tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks, and 9 forced fumbles as a Senior. He had an even bigger Junior season with 165 tackles, 30 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and even blocked 6 kicks. He was rated a five-star prospect by 247 and a four-star by Rivals and ESPN. He also played some basketball as a junior. The former Nittany Lion signed with Penn State out of high school and played in 13 games as a true freshman collecting only 14 tackles and 2 tackles for a loss on the year. Smith took over as a starter in the shortened 2020 COVID season and started all 9 games. He collected a total of 37 tackles with 8 tackles for a loss, two sacks, and an interception. Smith injured his lower right leg against Iowa but returned only missing a few plays. He signed a NIL deal with Roc Nation. Smith also wore Riddell's new prototype helmet for the 2021 season. Smith moved to play the weakside linebacker role in 2021 after playing the strong side in 2020. 2021 was his second full season as a starter, he started all 12 games. He finished the season with 81 total tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 5 pass breakups. Smith declared for the draft with eligibility remaining. He also opted out of the Outback bowl.

 

Positional Skills:

Strengths

Smith is an elite-level athlete and it shows on the field, he is fast and explosive. He also has good quickness with a solid backpedal. Smith's feet are always on the move; he does not stand still after the snap. Occasionally he will get physical with offensive linemen. He can easily defeat blocks from receivers using his strength and explosiveness. He has the speed and explosiveness to threaten the edge as a pass rusher. Smith shows good click and close technique explodes out of it. He has shown to have good cover skills for a college linebacker. The former Nittany Lion has shown on film he can carry a tight end up the seam. Smith has experience at both SAM and WILL spots. He's shown he can slip blocks. On film, he shows an ability to find the right gap and flow to the ball. There are times when he does play physically and you can see the potential. At times shows an ability to take on blockers and still effect or even tackle the runner with one arm.

 

Weaknesses

His motor does run hot and cold from game to game. You don't necessarily see it from play to play through. He has a habit of trying to shoulder tackle and it doesn’t work. He missed 15 tackles on the year. Smith is inconsistent with how he takes on blockers sometimes he tries to take on blockers with his shoulder or avoid them which will take him out of the play. He has been an inconsistent hitter on film, more of a drag-down tackler. Plays with his pads high when dealing with linemen. he needs more strength. He has not shown he can stack and shed yet. Smith is inconsistent in finding the right gap to flow to the ball. He has trouble finding that balance between being aggressive but also being patient; sometimes he can be too aggressive and other times too patient. Smith has a habit of Looping around instead of pressing the line in the run game. He can be fooled by play action

 

Fit with the Packers:

Brandon Smith is an athletic freak of a linebacker with massive potential, but he hasn’t come close to reaching it. When watching his film, you are left wondering if he will. He has similarities to Oren Burks. He is already a good coverage linebacker for a guy as big as he is. His instincts just don’t seem to be there or they are a tick or two late. His technique still needs work; like his ability to stack and shed. he needs to bend his knees more to unlock his explosiveness. He can be a modern-day sideline to sideline linebacker who can play all three downs if he can hit his potential. At the very least he should be a good special teamer who can see snaps as a coverage linebacker. Fit with the Packers is going to depend on value. If they take him on day two expecting him to come in and be the WILL next to Campbell then they will be disappointed, but if they take him on day 3 with the intentions of using him on special teams and a #3 linebacker and seeing if they could develop him then he would be a great fit.

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2 points

Comments (11)

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BirdDogUni's picture

April 09, 2022 at 06:11 pm

IDK if he's a Packer or not, but if he plays like Oren Burks, I don't want him.

Could you imagine if Kayvon fell to 22? Could you imagine Packer Nation if Gutey didn't take a WR until the 3rd round? I'd actually pay money to see the internet burn if Gutey didn't draft a WR until the 3rd round. (Wouldn't it be fun?) ; )

I think this would actually be a pretty decent draft. In fact, I'd be surprised if Gutey comes up with anything close to it.

22: R1 P22 EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux - Oregon
28: R1 P28 DL Devonte Wyatt - Georgia
53: R2 P21 RB Breece Hall - Iowa State
59: R2 P27 TE Jelani Woods - Virginia
92: R3 P28 WR Alec Pierce - Cincinnati
132: R4 P27 WR Velus Jones - Tennessee
140: R4 P35 LB Troy Andersen - Montana State
171: R5 P28 WR Tyquan Thornton - Baylor
228: R7 P7 OT Cordell Volson - North Dakota State
249: R7 P28 S Sterling Weatherford - Miami (Ohio)
258: R7 P37 CB Kalon Barnes - Baylor

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stormin's picture

April 09, 2022 at 08:49 pm

Would love it, but you are dreaming about Thibodeaux, Wyatt and Pierce lasting that long.

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BirdDogUni's picture

April 09, 2022 at 09:27 pm

True, but they also said Ha Ha would never make it to 21 either.

Just FYI - They can't all go before we pick. ; )

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ricky's picture

April 09, 2022 at 06:53 pm

Athletic freak that lacks instincts. His RAS will be great; his production will fail to meet his potential. He'll hang around for three years, and could be a good ST's player. If he's still there in the fifth or beyond, sure. Otherwise, no thanks.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 10, 2022 at 10:09 am

This guy is ten times better than Burks on his best day, no comparison. Edge guy with coverage skills. I would select Sanborn from the Badgers to fill the depth chart.

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Lphill's picture

April 09, 2022 at 09:41 pm

For special teams I would have preferred the fullback Rativich from northern Illinois who blew out his knee at the Packers pro day , I think when he heals the Packers will still have interest in him.

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 10, 2022 at 05:51 am

This is a pretty good list of players that have played a lot of STs snaps.

https://packerswire.usatoday.com/2022/04/05/40-special-teams-standouts-f...

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 10, 2022 at 06:54 am

Wow! What a great article! Thanks so much for posting this LLC!

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 10, 2022 at 01:00 pm

Horvath is the John Kuhn type RB/FB to bring on board.

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MaryAnderson's picture

April 10, 2022 at 02:57 pm

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coolhand's picture

April 11, 2022 at 03:00 pm

I hope the Packers do draft him, then we he comes into a game the entire stadium can chant, Let's go Brandon!

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