The Washington Redskins drafted Preston Smith, a linebacker out of Mississippi State, in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He's coming off his best season as a collegiate player.
The Redskins on Friday made Preston Smith, a linebacker out of Mississippi State, the team's second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Check out these photos of Mississippi State linebacker Preston Smith, the Redskins' 38th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
A 2015 Senior Bowl participant, Smith was tabbed a first-team All-SEC selection in 2014 after recording career highs in tackles (48), tackles for loss (15) and sacks (nine). Smith's success also extended to special teams action, as the 6-foot-5, 271 pounder blocked two kicks, ranking eighth in the nation in that category.
He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week last season after a performance against UAB that included five tackles -- three for a loss -- along with a 21-yard pick-six. It was the first time an FBS defensive lineman recorded an interception return for touchdown since Sept. 21, 2013.
A defensive end at Mississippi State, Smith is expected to make the transition to outside linebacker in the Redskins' 3-4 defensive scheme.
"I was a lot more versatile than a lot of guys in this draft," Smith said. "I can play comfortably along the line of scrimmage. A lot of guys may be able to, but they're not going to be as comfortable as I am. They're not going to have as high a production rate."
Smith also uses the recent birth of his daughter, Lauren, as fuel to succeed in the NFL.
"It drove me more to provide for my daughter and give her everything she wants and needs. Not just what she wants, but everything she needs," Smith said. "Instill hard work in her and show her that I worked hard to get where I'm at."
NOTES ON THE SELECTION OF PRESTON SMITH
- Smith is the second selection in the tenure of General Manager Scot McCloughan and the 10th selection of the Jay Gruden era.
- Smith is the 441st selection made by the Redskins in the Common Draft era (since 1967) and the 35th second-round selection in that time frame. He is the 53rd second-round selection by the Redskins all-time since the institution of the draft in 1936.
- Including the selection of Trent Murphy in the 2014 NFL Draft, Smith's selection marks the second straight season the Redskins have used a second-round pick on an outside linebacker.
- Smith's selection at No. 38 marks the highest the Redskins have selected a linebacker since using the No. 16 overall pick on Ryan Kerrigan in the 2011 NFL Draft.
- Smith is the fifth Mississippi State product selected by the Redskins all-time, joining C Dave Price (1938), B Charlie Yancey (1943), C Charley Cadenhead (1946) and CB Fred Smoot (2001).
- Smith's selection at No. 38 marks the highest the Redskins have taken a Mississippi State product, surpassing Price's selection at No. 39 in the 1938 NFL Draft.
- Smith is the 11th player selected by the Redskins at No. 38 all-time, joining T Wilson Groseclose (1936), B Dick Todd (1939), T Bill Kirchem (1940), C George Bujan (1945), B Jack Weisenburger (1948), B Mike DeNoia (1949), RB Tom Barrington (1966), DE Spain Musgrove (1967), LB Tom Roussel (1968) and WR Cotton Speyrer (1971).
- The Redskins' 11 selections at No. 38 are tied for their most all-time at any selection. The team has also made 11 all-time selections at No. 148 and 160.
Recorded 5 tackles (one sack) in the 2015 Senior Bowl. Started all 13 games in 2014 and led team with 15 tackles for loss and 9 sacks en route to being selected first-team All-SEC. Had an interception return for a touchdown against UAB. In 2013, played in 12 games (11 starts) and made 44 tackles, including 6.5 for loss (2.5 sacks). Selected Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Liberty Bowl in win over Rice. In 2012, played in 13 games and led team with 4.5 sacks. Made 11 starts in 2011.
Angular build with long arms. Has point-of-attack strength and doesn't get pushed around. Plays with leverage against the run. Very sound wrap-up tackler who usually finishes the job. Flashes busy hands as a pass rusher and uses them to gain advantage. Gets arm extension, finds running back and looks to shed against gap running plays. As a junior, rushed passer from both ends and over the nose while also dropping into space on occasion. Can be a disruptive player when asked to play the gaps. Has ability to slip and go when rushing from inside position.
Smith has been a solid, rotational defensive end for Mississippi State, but nothing too special. When studying tape long enough, you see traits and potential. With his long arms, plus hands and ability to play the run, Smith could be an interesting prospect inside or in a hybrid 3-4 front. As a 4-3 defensive end, he lacks the twitch to be an impact player.
*This story will be updated throughout the evening. *