By: Shawn Williams
If you’re an NFL Linebackers coach, and your unit is missing speed on the edge, look no further than Northern Iowa product Elerson Smith.
Smith has jaunting measurables for an edge player (4.69 40/7-second 3-cone/10’7 broad jump/41.5” vertical/83” wingspan). It’s no surprise that his speed, length, and quick twitch game led to 63 tackles (21 for a loss), 14.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 4 pass deflections in 2019 (UNI did not play in 2020). He is athletic, has great hand technique, bend, plays with a high energy, and has solid upside.
Elerson Smith measures in at 6’6 and 262 pounds, passing the eye test on paper for an NFL OLB. For the size and speed, he boasts, he does lack the strength needed to win matchups in the NFL. Smith can be inconsistent coming off the line and needs coaching to better his overall technique and pass rush moves. Smith has also shown to struggle defending the run. Until he gets stronger, he’s likely to play a situational “pass rush” role on defense, while contributing on Special Teams.
Despite not playing in 2020, Elerson was impressive in the Senior Bowl, making numerous “wow” plays each day. He was put through drills at DE and OLB. The UNI rusher projects as a Day 2 or 3 guy and is likely to be drafted to a team that plays in a 3-4 scheme.