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Preston Smith 2015 NFL Draft scouting report

There are a lot of pass rushers in the upcoming rookie class. This defensive end will impress with his power, but can he be worked into the rotation of edge rushers in Buffalo?

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All of Buffalo Rumblings' 2015 NFL Draft coverage can be found in our NFL Draft section. These scouting reports are part of our 2015 NFL Draft big board, which is also available under the "Library" header on our site's navigation bar.

Preston Smith

  • Position: Edge Rusher (DE)
  • Class: Senior
  • College: Mississippi State
  • Ht/Wt: 6'5", 270 pounds

Scouting Report

Preston Smith is an edge rusher with great size for the position and plenty of strength on his frame. His game is built around impressive power in his arms and his core. Smith has an excellent punch, and very strong arms that flash serious potential for shedding blocks in his swim and rip techniques.

Smith predominantly lined up over left tackle, but he would often shift to left end or take snaps at defensive tackle. He seemed to be most at home playing inside, where he often worked his swim and rip to success against overmatched centers, but his kind of build won't work there full time in the NFL. Smith's burst and speed are average, and he doesn't have the best balance for changing direction or bending around the edge. His edge rushes lack the creativity of his interior rushes, and are usually one-dimensional - either he tries to bull rush, or he attacks the tackle's outside shoulder.

Smith shows the awareness to get his hands into passing lanes when he expects a pass. He's capable of dropping into coverage and has surprisingly good movement skills for a defensive lineman, but doesn't really have a comfort level there yet. I think his processing speed is questionable on the field; he often gets caught up in other players when attempting stunts, and sometimes if he's in a crowded space on a run play.


After a few seasons of disappointingly weak classes of pass rushers, this year's group seems to be deep with options of all shapes and sizes, which will appeal to Rex Ryan. Smith is going to be profiled as a traditional 4-3 end with the ability to rotate inside on passing downs. At the moment, he reminds me a lot of Jarius Wynn, the end//tackle 'tweener who had some good games with Buffalo this past season. I think Smith has more power than Wynn, and if he gets comfortable trying some inside moves against tackles, he will unlock another dimension of his pass rushing. He's in the second to third round range for me.