Sutton Smith

Northern Illinois
EDGE

Prospect Info

College
Northern Illinois
Hometown
Class
MO
Junior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 0"
233 lbs
30 3/4”
Hands
9”

Prospect Grade

5.13
Better-than-Average Chance to Make NFL Roster
How We Grade

2019 Draft Results

Drafted by
Pittsburgh
Steelers
Round 6 ‧ Pick 2
40 Yard Dash
4.69u
Seconds
 
Bench Press
25
Reps
 
Vertical Jump
31.5
INCHES
 
Broad Jump
118.0
INCHES
 
3 Cone Drill
6.75
Seconds
 
20 Yd Shuttle
4.32
Seconds
 
60 Yd Shuttle
--
Seconds
 

Playlist

Smith was named the Missouri Large School Player of the Year as a senior running back (more than 2,000 rushing yards, 32 total touchdowns) but received no FBS offers except from Northern Illinois. It did not take long for Huskies coaches to discover that his place was on defense. Smith played in all 12 games as a reserve pass rusher as a redshirt freshman (15 tackles, two for loss, one sack) and then utterly dominated his competition over the next two years. He was a consensus All-American in 2017, as well as a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's best defensive end and the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. He set a school record and led the FBS with 2.3 tackles for loss per game (29.5 total), ranked third in the country with 1.08 sacks per game (14), also finishing with 63 total tackles, three passes defensed, and three fumbles forced. Smith's production continued in 2018, again being named a Ted Hendricks Award finalists, earning multiple All-American awards, and receiving MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. In 14 starts he posted 61 tackles and finished among the nation's leaders with 26.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two blocked kicks.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Round 7-Priority free agent
NFL Comparison
Eric Wilson
Overview
Undersized, edge-based antagonist for a variety of tackles, quarterbacks and offensive coordinators on his schedule. Smith lacks functional size and struggled in matchups against Senior Bowl tackles so his gaudy college sack total is less likely to carry as much weight with NFL teams. He has the demeanor to fit right into special teams work while his quickness, aggression and hand usage could land him a backup inside linebacker role with the potential to be utilized as a sub-package blitzer.
Strengths
  • Pass rush dynamo on college level
  • Continued acceleration from snap to sack
  • Short and plays even lower to dip and run the edge
  • Consistent video game production totals since 2017
  • Posted 56.5 tackles for loss, 29 sacks and four defense/special team touchdowns
  • Above-average rush plan with efficient, accurate hand usage
  • Plays with tenacity and big man swagger
  • Displays ability to slip blocks in space
  • Latches and refuses to let go as tackler
  • Maintains blitz potential from a new position
  • Traits to become a special teams warrior
Weaknesses
  • Built like a WILL linebacker
  • Looked out of place at Senior Bowl
  • Frequently ragdolled by tackles in practice
  • Likely candidate for a new position
  • Needs to prove ability to handle cover duties
  • Instincts appear to be average
  • Struggles counter and defeat move blocks that stick him
  • Quick, but lacks sideline-to-sideline speed
  • Lateral agility is below average for linebacker
Sources Tell Us

"He's too tiny to stay at rush backer. The poor kid's pro day is going to be interesting because they are going to have him working with every position group trying to find a new position for him." -- Personnel director for NFC team

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GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league