Seahawks Draft Profile: ‘Explosive’ Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith

Apr 6, 2023, 10:39 AM | Updated: 2:19 pm

Seahawks Draft...

Nolan Smith of the Georgia Bulldogs forces a fumble in the College Football Playoff on Dec. 31, 2021. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Brock Huard’s latest Seahawks Draft Profile centered around a combine standout who he hasn’t seen play up close.

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“He’s one of four that I actually did not cross paths with, that I did not get to see in person down in the SEC,” Huard, a college football analyst for FOX Sports, said during Wednesday morning’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

That player? Georgia linebacker/edge rusher Nolan Smith.

Smith played just eight games in 2022 due to a pectoral injury, but he shined at the NFL Scouting Combine and he’s also someone who is extremely well-regarded by media members and those around the Georgia program.

Huard said he reached out to SEC Network analyst Matt Stinchcomb as well as ESPN’s David Pollock, both former Georgia players, to get more insight into Smith.

“So I reached out to both those guys and got their opinion on Nolan Smith, and their opinion is very similar to everybody’s opinion – he’s just a lights out dude. Just as good a guy as you’re gonna find,” Huard said.

Pollock told Huard of Smith, “Elite leader, elite energy. Every single day, the guy flat-out brings it and is an awesome dude. He’s an elite run defender. Still needs to develop as a pass-rusher, doesn’t have an elite go-to move – is a speed-to-power guy but isn’t really built for that at 6-2, 238. I believe in him and I so believe in his competitive spirit.”

And Stinchcomb said to Huard, “Versatile talent that you flat out want on the field and you want in your locker room. There is not an area of evaluation he doesn’t hit it out the park. Durability concerns I think are speculative. Yeah, he tore his pec, but he didn’t wear down. Georgia’s depth and system means lower workload, which actually, in my mind, means more runway for NFL prospects.”

So what else do we need to know about Smith?

“He’s 6 foot 2, 238 (pounds). A little bit of a tweener. He’s not been an inside guy, but more of an outside guy,” Huard said. “But when you want to talk about running (the 40-yard dash in) 4.39 at 6-2, 238 … and jumped 41.5 inches. So not 6-4, 244 like (Florida quarterback prospect) Anthony Richardson putting up those numbers, but even faster than Anthony at 6-2, 238 and jumping 41.5 I mean, he is an explosive guy.”

“You put on the tape and that 4.39 shows up,” Huard later added.

In his career, Smith has 20 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in 38 games. That production doesn’t jump off the page, but his athleticism does, and Huard noted that Georgia doesn’t typically have one defender fill up the stat sheet because the Bulldogs have been so deep defensively.

Ultimately, Huard expects Smith’s name to be called in the first round of this month’s draft.

“Nolan Smith is going to be a Darrell Taylor outside linebacker-type,” Huard said, bringing up the Seahawks’ leading sacker from 2022. “Unlike Darrell, who I think struggles at times to stop the run, this kid at 6-2, 238 is pretty darn stout, is willing to stick his face in there. And then when you’ve got those kinds of tools, that kind of clay to mold, that just whets the appetite of (the Seahawks’ front office and coaching staff) because there aren’t many guys 6-2, 238 who run 4.39 and jump 41.5 inches. That is Georgia linebacker outside backer/pass rusher Nolan Smith.”

Huard thinks Smith could be in play with the Seahawks’ second first-round pick, which is 20th overall.

“Obviously if you were to get Will Anderson at No. 5, this is not a consideration,” he said. “But if you were to get Jalen Carter at No. 5, Tyree Wilson at No. 8 and then you need to add juice? … You need juice, you need the 12 cylinders? This guy’s got 12 cylinders.”

Listen to the full draft profile at this link or in the player below.

More Seahawks draft profiles

TCU’s Dee Winters is a ‘run-and-hit missile’ linebacker
 K-State CB Julius Brents could be Sherman-esque steal
• Huard makes sense of Anthony Richardson’s pro day
• Standout USC DL Tuli Tuipulotu fits Seahawks’ scheme
• The late-round ‘monster’ Wisconsin LB that Seattle should draft
• The massive ‘man eater’ Baylor nose tackle Siaki Ika
• Brock’s Seahawks Draft Profile: Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn

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