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2015 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Za'Darius Smith, DE, Kentucky

Let's take a look at one of the myriad of pass rushers in this draft. Today, it's Za'Darius Smith from Kentucky.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky is not really known for having a big-time college football program, but they certainly have a few big-time prospects. The best is DE/OLB Alvin Dupree, but they have another player on that defensive front worth looking into as well. That is Za'Darius Smith. A 6-foot-6, 270-pound beast, he has some traits similar to Jason Pierre-Paul. He's someone the Giants could definitely look into.


- Prototypical frame with elite length.

- Versatility. Can play wide, closed end, or even 3 technique.

- Grown man strength at the point of attack.

- Has very active hands and a strong punch.

- Can get "skinny" and penetrate gaps well.


- Hot and cold motor.

- Questionable explosion.

- Pad level gets too high sometimes.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

He absolutely does. He's a bit of a project, but he's got the great length that the Giants seem to admire among their front four. He's a very strong prospect and can move all over the line. Obviously a ton will be determined by what scheme the Giants will end up running, but he seems like an ideal five technique in a 3-4 defense. If the Giants want, they could also ask him to gain some weight and become a permanent defensive tackle.

Prospect Video (Note, from 2013)

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - Not in top 100

Mocking The Draft - 83

CBS Sports - 132

Draft Countdown - 84

Draft Tek - 144

Final Thoughts

Smith is a good prospect. His numbers this year don't tell the whole story, with only 7.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. However, disruption is production and Smith is very disruptive. He was a preseason first rounder for me, but he didn't make the leap that I had expected. He's a bit of a developmental guy, but don't be surprised if he goes Round 3. I'd personally take him in Round 4 or later given the depth of pass rushers in this draft.