News & Analysis

PFF scouting report: Tanzel Smart, DI, Tulane

By PFF Analysis Team
Mar 29, 2017
Los Angeles Rams Tanzel Smart

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Johnny Holton #3 of the Cincinnati Bearcats is pursued by Tanzel Smart #77 of the Tulane Green Wave during a game at Yulman Stadium on October 31, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Name: Tanzel Smart

School: Tulane

Position: 3- and 5-technique, best in a one-gap scheme

Stats to know: Had 42 total pressures in 2014 and 2015 but finished 2016 with 47 pressures.

What he does best:

  • Dominant bull rusher, bullied interior offensive lineman with his power.
  • Great hand placement, able to turn OL during his power rush sequence.
  • Willing to go through resistance if that is the quickest path to the QB.
  • Solid pass rush production with 7 sacks, 7 hits and 33 hurries in 2016.
  • Strength to toss linemen when up to full speed.
  • Delivers a shocking strike regularly on first contact.
  • Exceptional burst off the line, undercuts down blocks with quickness into the backfield.
  • Effective on line slants and stunts, able to redirect once he reads play direction.
  • Fights off cut blocks, able to regain balance after initial shed.
  • Football instincts, can diagnose concepts.
  • Had a solid showing at Senior Bowl week, finishing with a QB hit and a run stop during the game.

Biggest concern:

  • Struggles to consistently finish, gets very high with his tackle attempts.
  • Could use further refinement as a pass-rusher, lacks variety.
  • Struggles to hold the point against vs double teams.
  • Lacks ideal size for an NFL defensive tackle.
  • Tendency to jump pre-snap in an effort to get upfield as quickly as possible.

Player comparison: Kyle Williams, Buffalo Bills

Williams has never allowed his height to detract from his production. Smart also plays at 6-foot-1, and similarly understands the advantage of leverage. The pair share the versatility to play a number of roles, as well as the power to deny quarterbacks a clean platform. Doing the dirty work comes naturally to both and Smart could develop into a complete player at the next level.

Bottom line: Smart is unlikely to garner much attention in this draft process. Looking deeper, however, Smart displays many of the traits required to succeed in the NFL. He possesses the athleticism and strength to eliminate running plays in the backfield, as well as collapse the pocket. Smart represents a wise investment.

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