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PFF scouting report: Dawuane Smoot, Edge, Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Damion Terry #6 of the Michigan State Spartans runs the ball during the game as Dawuane Smoot #91 of the Illinois Fighting Illini pursues at Memorial Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois defeated Michigan State 31-27. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Name: Dawuane Smoot 

School: Illinois

Position fit: Edge defender

Stats to know: Smoot's 43 QB pressures in Big 10 competition were second-most in the conference.

What he does best:

  • One of a few college edge prospects with a well-developed rip move; has enough bend to win edge
  • Has the balance to play through contact on the edge; wins a lot through contact
  • Great closing speed for a player his size
  • At his best out wide when he can get a full head of steam; shows great power on contact then
  • Takes solid angles as a pass-rusher; knows he can win through the shoulders of a tackle and doesn’t take wasted steps

Biggest concern:

  • Caught upfield a ton versus the run; awareness of incoming blocks in run game is lacking
  • Ducks head too often, leading to Smoot getting knocked off balance versus the run and pass
  • Played almost exclusively on open end of formation with space to work
  • One-hitter type of pass rusher; if first move doesn’t work, he’s toast
  • Junior year tape outshone senior year
  • Can be sluggish out of his stance; not usually the first guy off ball 

Player comparison: Robert Quinn, Los Angeles Rams

Smoot doesn’t have anywhere near the bend that Quinn does, but they win in the same ways as pass-rushers. Smoot loves to get to the edge and turn the corner, but his lack of top-tier explosiveness might make that more difficult at the next level.

Bottom line:

Smoot has two years of top-notch production for the Fighting Illini as a pass-rusher and a fairly solid athletic profile for his size. He’s not an elite athlete, though, and therein lies the issue. Smoot loves to win either via the rip or the bull, and both require high-end athleticism to execute at the NFL level. That might limit his ceiling, but there are still more than enough traits present to be a plus pass-rusher at the next level.


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