The Redskins continued building up of their front lines with the addition of one of the larger edge rushers in the NFL draft pool.
Preston Smith of Mississippi State is 6-5, 271, and has 31-inch arms. He joked that he had lost a few pounds lately due to burning a lot of nervous energy waiting to the draft to arrive. He is amazingly agile for a player his size, recording top times in many of the NFL Combine drills that are used to measure quickness and change of direction.
Smith had a great nose for the football in his four years with the Bulldogs, forcing seven turnovers (five forced fumbles, two interceptions). As a senior he was a big playmaker, with seven sacks and 15 tackles for a loss.
Smith mostly lined up as a defensive end during his college career but he said that he would switch to outside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 defensive scheme. This will be an adjustment for him although he did line up in a two-point stance on occasion and he said that he sometimes dropped back in coverage in college.
Smith lasted until the second round because he’s not a quick-twitch type of rusher; his game is more great athleticism for a guy his size and a relentless motor. The size, athletic ability, and hustle are qualities the Redskins have made it clear that they are looking for. That makes Smith a good fit.
He joins Ryan Kerrigan, last year’s team leader in sacks with 13.5, and Trent Murphy, last year’s top draft pick, at the top of the outside linebacker depth chart. Kerrigan will stay in his spot on the right edge and play nearly every snap. Murphy and Smith will compete for playing time on the right side.
It's also possible that Smith will put his hand in the dirt and rush from a three-point stance. That would give the Redskins a lot of flexibility and versatility along the defensive front.
MORE REDSKINS: Second pick is in: Redskins draft Preston Smith at No. 38