Georgia Bulldogs draft prospect projected to go higher than initially thought

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When the college football season began, many considered Georgia Bulldogs’ defender Nolan Smith to be a top ten draft prospect. However, fast forward to the end of the season, and opinions have completely changed. Maybe it has something to do with his torn pectoral, but it isn’t as detrimental as an ACL or Achilles injury. Smith will be a productive piece in an NFL defense; he didn’t just forget how to play football.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler thinks he’ll be drafted much higher than originally projected:

“Fowler: Nolan Smith, OLB, Georgia. Some scouts are giving off top-10 vibes for Smith, noting that the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 17 could be his floor. The Detroit Lions, who have the sixth and 18th picks, have done their homework on Smith, who has improved his stock through the process. Fit will be key for Smith. Given he’s 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, playing every down as a defensive end could wear him down. Some scouts say he’s best served in a 3-4 defense as a speedy pass-rusher who can also drop into coverage.”

The former Dawg stands only 6-2 and weighs 238 pounds, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in athleticism. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash with a 1.52 10-yard split. The production is there too — 11.5 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 78 quarterback pressures in 46 games for the Bulldogs.

Despite the slender build, Nolan Smith plays much bigger than his size would indicate. I’ve seen him stand up SEC pulling guards with ease. He’s not the prototypical three down edge rusher, but he’s certainly talented enough to carve out a significant role if a defensive coordinator puts him in the right position. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went in the first ten selections.

John Adams/Icon Sportswire Nolan Smith

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