Elerson Smith – EDGE, Northern Iowa
By the numbers:
6’6″, 262 pounds. 33-1/4″ arms per pro day measurements.
Did not play in 2020.
2019: 63 tackles (21.5 for loss), 14 sacks, five forced fumbles and four passes broken up in 15 games played.
Elerson Smith’s athletic profile is impressive. He boasts a lengthy frame and long arms, allowing him to handle engaging with even the largest of offensive linemen. He explodes off the snap and maintains a decent amount of bend for someone so tall, especially in regards to his ankle flexibility. Smith has good lateral agility and moves well overall.
As a pass-rushing threat, Smith is a legitimate presence. His hand placement is accurate and consistent, making life difficult for his assignment. He has a solid understanding of leverage and keeps a low pad level. Smith’s motor runs hot at all times, and he isn’t a one-trick pony. He has enough in his toolbox in terms of moves and counters to make a difference on obvious passing downs early in his career.
Functional strength is an issue with Smith. He lacks great power in his game and in run defense, he’s susceptible to getting washed out of the play against bigger linemen. Double-teams effectively make him a non-factor in the run game. Smith has added a significant amount of weight to his frame but in order to become a well-rounded player, a bit more is necessary. This will help him set a quality edge and also work in conjunction with his length to make disengaging an easier task.
At this point in his development, Smith is far from a finished product. Patience will be key in turning him into the player he has a chance to become. Not having a 2020 season and heading from the Missouri Valley Conference to the NFL are also working against him. Smith’s ceiling is high but in year one, he’s merely a situational pass-rusher.
How Smith fits with the Chiefs:
Despite retaining Taco Charlton, the Chiefs still need additional help in the defensive end department. The addition of Jarran Reed opens the door for Chris Jones to spend more time on the outside on early downs, but having a dynamic option to rotate in for passing situations would be ideal. Smith fits Steve Spagnuolo’s typical size parameters and could be a great long-term fit with the team after being a rotational EDGE in year one.
Smith was a productive college player who has NFL-level length and a good athletic profile. He needs to keep getting stronger before becoming a full-time player, though. For a team like the Chiefs that is deficient in talent along the edge outside of Frank Clark, Smith makes sense as a potential Day 3 pick. He grades out as a fourth-round prospect whose true value may not be revealed for a couple of years.