ZaDarius Smith   DE   Kentucky

TALENT BOARD ROUND 2

STRENGTHS
ZaDarius is the type of player who will never stop working to be his best. He has good size and has a nice burst off the line with strong pad level strength to gain leverage against his opponent. He will do what you ask of him – stop the run or rush the passer and will do it with effort that doesn’t stop until he hears the whistle. He has good feet and balance; he can turn the corner when he pass rushes, but is more of a “straight to the quarterback” type of pass rusher. ZaDarius is a worker bee type of player who fits as a strong side Defensive End in a 4-3 defense that uses a 2-gap system or a Defensive End in a 3-4 that uses a 2-gap system like the Steelers, because of his size and his talent to be strong against the run. He will get you effort sacks and, if an offensive lineman makes mistakes, he can slip in and be very disruptive. He has those long arms that will keep blockers off him and, when he learns better hand techniques, he could become a core player for the team that selects him.

CONCERNS
ZaDarius doesn’t have that outstanding burst off the line, but with better technique, experience and an intensive strength and conditioning program, he can improve and become a very good player.

BOTTOM LINE
Watching ZaDarius on film will not light your hair on fire, but his consistency is rare for a player his age coming out of college. His work ethic attracts me and makes me think that ZaDarius has some upside to his game. You have to appreciate this kid’s way of playing his position and, as I said, bettering his techniques and a more extensive strength and conditioning program will add to his game and just might make this kid have more of an impact than he had at the college level. That’s not to say he didn’t have an impact for his program. In fact, he is considered one of the best players on his team. On film, ZaDarius shows much better than his combine numbers suggest and personally, I see a player who has the leadership skills to become as important to his team at the next level as he was for his college team. Just give him some time. I think he has the potential to be as good as Steelers DE Bret Keisel.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2015