NFL Draft

2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Illinois OLB Dawuane Smoot

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Dawuane Smoot/OLB Illinois – 6’3/1 264

The Good

– Looks the part, fills out frame and has excellent length (33 1/4 inch arms)
– Uses hands really well, advanced in that area compared to most others, and does well to stay clean
– Not a great athlete but bends the edge well and shows ability to dip/rip and flatten the edge
– Strong at the POA against the run on the edge and does well to keep vision on the football, shows the ability to work off blocks
– Overall, gap sound and experience one and two-gapping
– Smart pass rusher, good IQ, and ability to counter the tackle’s set
– Has experience on both end spots and kicked inside on 3rd downs
– High effort player
– Statistically productive though not overwhelming career

The Bad

– Average athlete and get off as a pass rusher
– Tested average to below average (4.77 40, 1.68 ten split, 29.5 vert and 9’9” broad)
– Lacks functional strength as an interior rusher, initial punch is only average
– Inconsistent pass rusher who loses too many battles to tight ends and running backs when he should be more dominant
– Was not asked to drop into coverage often and looked stiff when he did so
– Wasn’t as productive as a senior as he was a junior


– Two year starter, 24 in total
– Career: 38.5 TFL, 16.5 sacks, 5 FFs
– 2016: 15 TFL, 5 sacks, 2 FF (2015: 15 TFL, 8 sacks, 3 FF)
– Had 91 tackles, 14 sacks, 5 FFs as senior in high school, team defensive MVP as junior and senior
– Played football and ran track (400m hurdles, shot put, discus) in HS

Tape Breakdown

Smoot is one of the final outside linebackers we’re circling to. Someone I’ve been meaning to write about, especially after a solid Senior Bowl week that I think helped open eyes. And at the time, reported the team had interest in Smoot.

His best quality is the ability to get skinny and bend the edge. He really convinced me of that each practice at the Senior Bowl. By the end of his day, his shoulder pads would be ripped to shreds from tackles clawing at him all day long. But he showed it in-game too.

Similar to Derek Rivers, he has an advanced knowledge and use of his hands, working hard to stay clean. They need to be more active and consistent but when he has a plan, he’s effective. Smart pass rusher who overcomes his physical limitations as an average athlete. LDE here.

But he did disappear in moments he should’ve dominated. His game against Michigan was particularly disappointing, getting stonewalled by running backs and tight ends far too often. I know it’s third and short but watch Jake Butt drive Smoot into the ground.

Smoot isn’t a flashy pass rusher and I don’t think he’ll ever be a dominant guy. Just not a good enough athlete to make those odds look good. But he’s certainly solid and a pick that’s as hard to hate as it is to love.

Projection: Early Day Three

Games Watched: at Nebraska, at Michigan, at Northwestern, Senior Bowl

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun Watson Haason Reddick Marshon Lattimore Corey Clement Tim Williams
Jourdan Lewis Takkarist McKinley Brad Kaaya Nathan Peterman O.J. Howard
Charles Harris Alvin Kamara Tyus Bowser David Njoku DeMarcus Walker
Chidobe Awuzie DeShone Kizer Marlon Mack Cameron Sutton Zach Cunningham
Corey Davis Carl Lawson Patrick Mahomes Kareem Hunt Evan Engram
Derek Rivers Ryan Anderson Joshua Dobbs Jordan Leggett Samaje Perine
Corn Elder Bucky Hodges James Conner Cooper Kupp Stanley Williams
Fred Ross Jamaal Williams George Kittle Ejuan Price Chris Wormley
Jeremy McNichols Joe Mathis Derek Barnett Amba Etta-Tawo Gareon Conley
Taco Charlton  Elijah McGuire Ryan Switzer Tanoh Kpassagnon Tre’Davious White
Brian Hill Matthew Dayes Donnel Pumphrey Josh Reynolds Nazair Jones
De’Veon Smith Davis Webb Obi Melifonwu TJ Watt John Ross
Jerod Evans Vince Biegel Josh Carraway Josh Malone Kevin King
Fadol Brown Chris Godwin Nate Gerry Jordan Willis Stacy Coley
Zay Jones Jimmie Gilbert Glen Antoine Tarell Basham Duke Riley
Rayshawn Jenkins Chad Kelly Trey Hendrickson Jeremy Sprinkle Joe Williams
D’Onta Foreman Carlos Watkins Damontae Kazee Wayne Gallman Willie Quinn
Xavier Woods Elijah Hood Malik McDowell Desmond King Solomon Thomas
Cordrea Tankersley Raekwon McMillan Josh Harvey-Clemons Christian McCaffrey Chris Carson
Montravius Adams Aaron Jones Mack Hollins Deatrich Wise Jr Adoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-Schuster Josh Jones Davon Godchaux Lorenzo Jerome Quincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatu Mike Williams Ahkello Witherspoon Dede Westbrook Tedric Thompson
Marcus Maye Joe Mixon Taywan Taylor Tyson Fernandez Jarrad Davis
Ishmael Zamora Daeshon Hall CJ Beathard Kendell Beckwith Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul Douglas Marcus Williams Devonte Fields Justin Evans Kenny Golladay
Marquez White Chad Williams Curtis Samuel D.J. Jones Seth Russell
Amara Darboh Noah Brown Malik Hooker Carroll Phillips Isaiah Ford
Marlon Humphrey T.J. Logan Jalen Myrick Chad Hansen Eddie Jackson
Budda Baker Jahad Thomas Fabian Moreau Matt Milano Tashawn Bower
Jason Croom Jamal Agnew Howard Wilson Shaquill Griffin Keionta Davis
Michael Roberts Teez Tabor Shock Linwood Shelton Gibson Channing Stribling
Montae Nicholson Najee Murray Joseph Yearby Justin Davis
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