Video cut up of Western Kentucky DE Quanterus Smith against Alabama (2012) courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
The Jacksonville Jaguars have quite a few needs in the 2013 NFL Draft, which means for the most part their options are wide open as far as who they should pick. The next player we're going to look at is an explosive pass rusher who should fit right in on Gus Bradley's defense if he runs the same style of defense he did in Seattle as the JAEGER (LEO), Western Kentucky's Quanterus Smith.
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Quanterus Smith is one of the better pure pass rushers in the 2013 NFL Draft class, but not a lot of people know who he is because he played at Western Kentucky. Coupled with the fact that Smith played at WKU, he also tore his ACL in mid-November cutting his senior season short. Despite missing three games in 2012, Smith still finished the season with 12.5 sacks, including a three sack game against No. 1 ranked Alabama. Smith gave D.J. Fluker and Cyrus Kouandjio absolute fits the entire game because they couldn't get their hands on him.
The biggest asset Smith has rushing the passer is his burst off the line of scrimmage. Smith explodes off the snap, which will be a question as he comes back from his ACL injury. Will that first step and explosion be there? It's not likely to be there right away, but you will wonder if it will come back. Given the state of ACL recovery in NFL athletes nowadays, I would venture to say it will. The other big thing Smith does when rushing the passer is he doesn't let the offensive lineman get his hands on him. Smith does a good job swatting hands down and off his body, as well as ripping through to get to the quarterback.
Smith shows nice bend getting around the edge and often just straight up can beat the offensive lineman to the spot and get around the corner. He also has a decent array of pass rush moves right now, not just solely relying on his speed rush. He shows good use of an inside-out counter move and at times tries an outside-in counter move, but will often get swallowed up by the guard and the traffic on the inside. Smith also knows how to use rip and swim moves to get off the block and close on the quarterback.
In Western Kentucky's defense, Smith played both weakside (RDE) and strongside (LDE) end rushing the passer. He looks like he could be a great fit as the JAEGER in Gus Bradley's defense if he plans on running the same type of system he did with the Seattle Seahawks. Smith is the type of player you can just turn loose one the quarterback and more often than not he's going to create pressure.
Smith is likely athletic enough to be a kind of guy you can drop into zone coverage if you're mixing up blitzes, but again he's a guy you want to stick his hand on the ground and turn him loose. It's likely he'd do just fine rushing as a stand up linebacker in some packages as well. His best fit at the NFL is going to be at weakside end or potentially as a 3-4 rush linebacker.
Smith's biggest weakness is his play in the run game. He can do a nice job shedding his blocks and disrupting in the backfield for tackles for loss, but he can also get completely washed out of the play and bullied around if the offensive lineman get their hands on him and inside his body. As mentioned before however, Smith does a good job with his hand fighting to keep guys off of him, but he's definitely going to need to get stronger in the upper body for the next level to be a complete end. With how Smith plays right now, he's going to struggle to hold the point of attack and teams will likely run right at him.
You're not drafting Smith for his ability to set the edge in the run game however, you're drafting him for his ability to pin his ears back and knock down the quarterback.