Brandon Smith NFL Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report
Name: Brandon Smith
The school: Penn State
Measurable: 6’3 1/2, 250 pounds
Attended Louisa County High School in Louisa, Virginia. Three-time letterer and two-time captain. He played in the Under Armor All-America Game. Smith was Virginia’s Gatorade Player of the Year. He had 135 total tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks and 9 forced fumbles as a senior. He had an even bigger junior season with 165 tackles, 30 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and even blocked 6 kicks. He was rated a five-star prospect by 247 and a four-star prospect by Rivals and ESPN. He also played basketball as a junior. The former Nittany Lion signed with Penn State out of high school and played 13 games as a true freshman collecting just 14 tackles and 2 tackles for a loss on the year. Smith took over as a starter in the shortened 2020 COVID season and started all 9 games. He had a total of 37 tackles with 8 tackles for a loss, two sacks and an interception. Smith hurt his lower right leg against Iowa but only came back missing a few plays. He signed a NIL deal with Roc Nation. Smith also wore Riddell’s new prototype helmet for the 2021 season. Smith moved to play weakside linebacker in 2021 after playing strongside in 2020. 2021 was his second full season as a starter, he started all 12 games. He finished the season with 81 total tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 5 pass breakups. Smith declared for the draft with remaining eligibility. He also opted out of the Outback bowl.
Smith is a top athlete and it shows on the pitch, he is quick and explosive. It also has good speed with a solid coaster. Smith’s feet are always on the move; it does not stay still after the snap. Occasionally he will get physical with offensive linemen. He can easily defeat blocks from receivers using his strength and explosiveness. He has the speed and explosiveness to threaten the edge as a passer. Smith shows off a good click and exploding closing technique. He showed he had good coverage skills for a college linebacker. The former Nittany Lion has shown on film that he can lead a tight end to the seam. Smith has experience at the SAM and WILL spots. He has shown that he can slide blocks. On film, he shows an ability to find the right gap and head for the ball. There are times when he plays physically and you can see the potential. Sometimes shows an ability to take on blockers while continuing to affect or even tackle the runner with one arm.
Its engine runs hot and cold from game to game. You don’t necessarily see it from game to game. He has a habit of trying to tackle on the shoulder and it doesn’t work. He missed 15 tackles on the year. Smith is inconsistent with the way he tackles blockers, sometimes he tries to tackle blockers with his shoulder or dodge them which will knock him out of the game. He was an inconsistent hitter on film, more of a dragging tackler . Plays with his pads high when dealing with linemen. he needs more strength. He has yet to show that he can stack and lose. Smith is inconsistent in finding the right gap to head for the ball. He struggles to find that balance between being aggressive but also being patient; sometimes he can be too aggressive and other times too patient. Smith has a habit of looping instead of pressing the line in the running game. It can be deceived by game action
Compatibility with Packers:
Brandon Smith is an athletic fanatic of a linebacker with huge potential, but he’s nowhere near reaching it. Watching his film, one wonders if he will. He has similarities to Oren Burks. He’s already a good linebacker for a guy as big as him. His instincts just don’t seem to be there or they’re one or two behind. His technique still needs work; like his ability to stack and lose. he needs to bend his knees more to release his explosiveness. He can be a modern linebacker who can play all three downs if he can reach his potential. At the very least, he should be a good special team member who can see some shots as a cover linebacker. Fit with the Packers is going to depend on value. If they take it on day 2 expecting it to come in and be the WILL next to Campbell they will be disappointed, but if they take it on day 3 with the intention of using it in special teams and a No. 3 linebacker and see if they could develop him then he would be a great fit.