UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State’s defense had the bend don’t break attitude last season. They only allowed 17 points per game which was second in the Big Ten. A big reason why was a strong linebacking core. Brandon Smith was second on the team in tackles and if bigger, faster, and stronger is what the NFL wants, it’s what they’ll get in Brandon Smith.
“He is a freak physical athlete.”
At 6’3 244 lbs Brandon Smith was all over the field finishing second on the Nittany Lions with 81 tackles and he played a big role on a defense that allowed the fewest touchdowns in the Big Ten. Thomas Frank Carr of Blue White Illustrated says the way the game is played at the NFL level is something that will benefit Smith.
“The RPO game and the play action game and read option have all infiltrated the NFL and all of that attacks linebackers,” said Frank Carr. “So the traditional thumper in the middle, the big guy, that guy’s kind of gone. So the NFL is kind of reassessing what they need at that position and what they need is speed. Brandon Smith running a 4.5 at 250 pounds at the combine, his testing metrics at Penn State as far as his agility, his burst, all of those things check the boxes.”
As Smith has been talking with NFL teams, the scouts say they like what they see from number 12.
“Really they’re just saying the overall thing is lift as far as god given abilities as far as how big I am,” said Smith. “Speed, strength, awareness of the football, and that’s really it and coverage.”
Smith was the Big Ten Defensive Player Of The Week after a 10 tackle game in Penn State’s win over Auburn. Now there are some concerns with his tape, but his athleticism has made up for many of those shortcomings.
“I think Brandon Smith has clearly established himself as a second round pick or at the latest an early day three,” Frank Carr said. “Now this is entirely what you see, you know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Brandon Smith, he can be very frustrating at times on film, but it’s about bigger, faster, stronger in the NFL.”
Now Smith has the chance to live out his childhood dream of playing in the NFL.
“It was the best opportunity to chase my dream and to have those that I love back at home that are up in age so they can see me go out and do that and accomplish that and also me being confident in my own ability and that’s really the main thing is it’s more than just a game to me it’s something I’ve been dreaming of doing since I was little.”