New Orleans Saints 2023 NFL draft scouting report: EDGE Nolan Smith
The New Orleans Saints got back into the first round of the 2023 NFL draft, and have a wide range of ways that they could go with their selection. With Marcus Davenport becoming a pending free agent and a lacking pass rush from, the Saints may look to the defensive front for their first selection.
Georgia Bulldogs senior Nolan Smith doesn’t really fit the mold of the Saints at all, but that could be exactly why New Orleans should take the chance and go in a different direction? How many tall, project players from small schools can they line up out on the edge that don’t work out before they try something new?
Smith just got done crushing it both on and off the field at the NFL combine, and it’s hard not to buy in after watching him do drills and listening to him in interviews. Smith would bring speed and finesse to the defensive line that the Saints haven’t seen in a long time, if ever. He’s already talented against both the run and the pass, but isn’t a complete player to be fair. He doesn’t match the prototype the Saints have looked for at 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, but his impressive speed (he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash with a rare 1.52-second 10-yard split) and explosiveness (jumping 41.5 inches vertically and 10-foot-8 broad) stand out from the crowd.
He doesn’t have the production numbers, 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 4 years, but really no one at Georgia does. They rotate so many people around the defensive line that it’s hard for someone to really pop off the state sheet. Could the combination of a little speed to the existing power of the Saints defensive front be the missing key?
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