The Jacksonville Jaguars have had themselves quite an offseason to kick off the 2014 NFL season. The team added young players who will certainly contribute to the long-term success of the franchise, but they also added some seasoned veterans who will mentor those young players and fill a leadership role for this team moving forward.
While the team added a whole heck of a lot of defense this offseason via free agency, HC Gus Bradley decided to spend a fifth-round pick on OLB Telvin Smith of Florida State to add some speed and athleticism to his defense.
Smith, an undersized linebacker at 6-foot-3, 218-pounds, will either need to add some weight to fill out his frame or he will need to make the transition to safety. Smith does have the athleticism to play safety, but his future is at outside linebacker where he can cover backs and tight ends.
Smith’s legitimate low 4.5 speed is something that Bradley can use to counteract the rise of the seam-threat or “joker” tight end fad now on the rise throughout the league. Smith’s instincts are through the roof, and he is a very passionate and fiery leader both on and off the field. His ability to cover, while also come up in run support and be a sure tackler is one trait that makes me believe that he could contribute and possibly even start from day one.
Smith will need to get a bit stronger, however, as only bench pressing 225-pounds 16 times at the FSU pro day is not a good way to make a professional organization fall in love with you when they already have to struggle to figure out if you are a linebacker or a safety. That being said, Smith should be able to beat out fellow former FSU outside backers Geno Hayes and Dekoda Watson for the starting Will linebacker role in Bradley’s defense. Smith’s athleticism and ability to cover as well as make bone-jarring hits gives him the upper hand over both Hayes and Watson.