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2015 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Preston Smith, DE, Mississippi State

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Let's look at a defensive end who fits the prototype of what the Giants usually look for.

Preston Smith
Preston Smith
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

There is tremendous depth and ability for teams looking for pass rushers in this draft class, the issue there aren't a ton of class ready-made 4-3 defensive end types. Today we look at a player who is seen as a 4-3 defensive end first as opposed to an edge guy.

Pros

-- Classic New York Giants defensive end build. He looks the part off the hoof. He's 6-foot-5 271 pounds, with 34-inch arms, and 10 5/8-inch hands

-- Plays the run well, by using active hands, taking on and shedding blocks, and is a good wrap-up tackler. (Splash plays were solid 15 T.F.L. and 9 sacks)

-- Showed more athleticism than people (myself included) previously thought he had. He finished top 10 in his group for the 40 yard dash, broad jump, 3-cone drills, and 60-yard shuttle. All of which are generally good indicators of lower body explosiveness.

-- Has experience rushing from the outside and inside (on a few  ocassions) and could have a lot of success rushing as a defensive tackle in the "NASCAR" package.

Cons

-- Isn't supremely "twitchy" and not and doesn't exhibit great "bend" when rushing the passer, (JPP at his finest is a master at that) which could limit his ability to rush the passer in the NFL.

- Reaction time is often a step slow. Is this because he doesn't see it, or because he lacks great explosion? (And now that he tested so well at the Combine that's what I have to try and re-watch to find out)

Player comparisons

Antonio Smith (NFL.com and a few other places).

He tested out at the Combine similarly to Daniel Te'o Nesheim (though he's bigger), Robert Quinn, and Chris Kelsay. (mockdraftable.com).

He reminds me a lot of Justin Tuck. And he also compares very similarly to Tuck from an athletic stand point (but because Tuck didn't actually test out at the Combine, he would not appear in mockdraftable.com's database. Check out how eerily similar their numbers are. [Preston SmithJustin Tuck]

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Yes. Absolutely.  He looks like he belongs in a New York Giants uniform, and truth be told he plays like it, too. He doesn't have the upside of many of the other pass rushers who will be taken in the draft, but he is a very solid, "safe" prospect because he knows how to use his hands and he plays the run well. That doesn't mean that he doesn't have good upside. I think his upside is Tuck, who was at one point one of the best all around- defensive ends in the game and you hope Smith has enough athleticism.  He is also versatile and that should appeal to the Giants. I think he would really complement the abilities of Damontre Moore well.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 91st (top 60 for me)

CBS Sports - 89

Draft Tek - 105

SB Nation - 38th

Final Thoughts

Depending on what the Giants do in free agency and in the first round of the draft I think Preston Smith makes a lot of sense in the second round, even though that seems high at the moment I believe that's where his value lies and where he will ultimately be drafted. The first thing about Smith is that he fits the Giants mold, which is important. There are clearly better edge rushers in the draft than Smith is and maybe as many as eight of them, but they are all imperfect schematic fits for the Giants. That's not Smith.  He has the requisite length and size. He did well with the measurables. He was productive at a major BCS school, and he showed versatility by playing at both end spots and even in the middle at times throughout his career. He might lack the quick twitch explosive ability of Randy Gregory, Bud Dupree and the like, but I think he can eventually be as good a pass rusher as Tuck was (who was usually in the 8-12 sack range and not 15-20 like a top pass rusher) and also do a good job of stopping the run.