The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Dallas Cowboys Potential 2012 Draft Pick: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

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Jonathan Bales

Some of you were disappointed I rated Harrison Smith so low in my Linebacker and Safety Rankings.  My scouting report on Smith at the NY Times will provide more details on why I did it:

Harrison Smith is a strong safety all the way.  He is listed as a free safety in most rankings, and the N.F.L. safety positions are becoming more interchangeable, but Smith is not a turn-and-run, play-the-deep-middle type of safety. He thrives in the box and when he is near the line of scrimmage.  He i’s a good blitzer, as you can see at the 39-second mark.

Smith plays almost as a small linebacker, reading plays and flying up to make hits.  When he is allowed to roam near the line, Smith can be a really good player. He can cover running backs and some tight ends effectively, and he can even line up in the slot at times. Smith excels in underneath zone coverage. He will not be able to consistently play man against receivers.

Some have labeled Smith as a ballhawk, but I do not see that.  When asked to play the deep middle, Smith looks stiff.  His instincts are not bad and he reads plays well, but he really is not a rangy defender.  His stiffness shows up as a tackler in space (see the 1:42 mark).  In traffic, however, Smith displays excellent wrap-up tackling technique.

I don’t think Smith has very good hips, and he’s not sudden out of his breaks.  He can’t cover slot receivers, and I’m not sure he would succeed in the deep half.  I would be disappointed if the Cowboys grabbed Smith if he’s available in the second round.

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2 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential 2012 Draft Pick: Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame

  1. Derek says:

    I think it’s unfair to point to the 1:42 mark as evidence that Smith has stiffness. He made a play – coming from the opposite side of the field after every defender on the play-side got demolished -that prevented a TD or an extra-long play. When I watch that clip, I see a player who is very aware that he can’t let the RB get to the sideline. I don’t see someone with stiff tackling technique. To me, it was a great play. What safety in the league can run full speed and reverse 180 degrees?

  2. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    I still think the kid from LSU has more upside. Harrison is certainly more NFL ready but the Boys already have stop-gap safety in place.

    I wouldn’t be all that happy w/ Dallas taking this guy in the 2nd if guys like Curry, Amina, Janoris Jenkins and others also avail.

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