2015 NFL Draft Grades, Baltimore Ravens: Za’Darius Smith


By the way the 2015 NFL Draft is going, you would be excused if you forgot that the Baltimore Ravens were a team that doesn’t draft with a needs philosophy.  Even though you can argue that they have stuck to their board to this point (and they’ve gotten great value thus far), they have also filled a need with every single pick.

The latest is Kentucky outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith.  Smith spent two years with the Wildcats, racking up 14 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries in that time frame.  He has great size at 6’5″ and 274 pounds.  Smith had a disappointing combine, however, notching a 4.83 40, 29 inch vertical, and 9’5″ broad jump.

Smith may not be a pure athlete, but he compensates on the field as a high effort guy who has a relentless motor.  Despite his decent pass rushing stats, Smith projects more as a two down run stuffer in the pros (a la Courtney Upshaw), but he could very well develop into a more complete player.  What he isn’t is an immediate replacement for Elvis Dumervil or Terrell Suggs.

Smith is a sound pick at this point in the draft that fills a need, and he has a good bit of upside.  In the end, that’s what you like to see in a later round prospect.  It just isn’t an exciting “wow” type pick by any means.

Grade: C+

Next: Maxx Williams Draft Grade

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