St. Louis Rams: Five Defensive Linemen Who Make Real Sense in the 2015 NFL Draft

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Preston Smith- DE, Mississippi State- 6’5, 271

Round Projections: RD2 (, RD2 (

Here we have yet another big, versatile defensive lineman by the name of Smith. This time it’s Preston, who broke out as a senior for the Bulldogs, collecting nine sacks. Smith’s optimal pro role is somewhat of a question mark, as he’s on the big side for a 4-3 defensive end role, but isn’t heavy enough to regularly fill the interior pass rusher role that he succeeded in so frequently at MSU.

His best work as a Bulldog was out of the school’s “NASCAR package”, playing as a pass-rushing defensive tackle on passing downs. He was also quite serviceable from the edge, though, as he utilized a variety of pass rush moves and was disciplined in his hand usage. He rounds the edge well, and he’s a pretty good athlete overall. Smith is lacking as a run defender, often plays with too high of a pad level, and is relatively weak for as big as he is. With that said, he should be a quality rotational player who can provide a solid pass rush from all four defensive line positions. If Nick Fairley doesn’t provide a good return on his one-year contract for 2015, Smith may be a solid option next to Aaron Donald down the road in the Rams’ nickel package. They’d probably need him to fall beyond the second round in order for him to be a good value, but if the Rams find a good spot to select Smith, he’d be a worthwhile addition to the defensive line.

Next: Five Offensive Linemen in the NFL Draft Who Make Real Sense for the Rams