Telvin Smith LB Florida State #22
Size/Athleticism: Vastly undersized which will severely limit his role until he bulks up. May be considered an oversized safety by some teams due to his lack of bulk. Elite athleticism for the position. Not only fast enough to play sideline to sideline, but also shows great balance and agility to avoid blockers when playing close to the line.
Run Defense: Range is his best asset. Does a great job diagnosing the play and taking correct angles. Fast enough to make plays in pursuit and will chase down some ball carriers from behind. Mostly serves as a last line of defense against the run. Doesn’t have the strength to mix it up at the line of scrimmages and rarely makes impact plays. Great closing speed and a reliable tackler. Can wrap guys up in the open field.
Pass Rush: Can be effective as a situational blitzer, but he isn’t a pure pass-rusher. Simply lacks the strength to be effective and can only get into the backfield when he’s the extra blitzer and essentially goes in unblocked, or with the element of surprise on a delayed blitz. Easily shut down once he’s engaged in a block.
Coverage: Does a nice job in zone coverage of reading the quarterback and putting himself in position to make plays. Somewhat inexperience dropping in coverage against tight ends. Man coverage assignments were often on running backs coming out into the flat.
Intangibles: Only a one-year starter. Suspended for a game in 2011. Plenty of experience on special teams.
Durability: No known issues, although his lack of size raises some concern.
Comments: Smith can be an effective weapon but every team will view him different due to his lack of size. He isn’t the type of linebacker who can mix it up on the line and against the run, he’s basically a last line of defense. While he makes plays against the run, he’s really more of a liability because of his inability to generate stops at or behind the line of scrimmage. His best asset at the next level will be his athleticism in coverage. He’s already very good at dropping in zone and reading the quarterback and has the raw skills to develop into an asset in man coverage.