With Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee done for the season, I think that every starting linebacker spot is up for grabs during training camp.
Say what you will about Bruce Carter, but truth is that his play in 2013 was horrid, and for what it’s worth, I don’t know what to expect from Justin Durant, DeVonte Holloman or Kyle Wilber. So, yes – In my eyes, every starting linebacker spot is up for grabs.
One player that not a lot of people are talking about is rookie linebacker William Smith, whom the Cowboys selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Smith, a hard working young man, has had to overcome his fair share of obstacles over the past few years, including not having a place to live.
“Going into my senior [year] of high school my family, and I were homeless,” Smith said. [It’s] something I never thought would happen.”
Following high school, Smith received attention from some FBS schools, but due to academics, he was forced to begin his collegiate career at junior college. After impressing on the field, he was signed by Texas Tech as a four-star JUCO recruit. While at Texas Tech, Smith started 24 games racking up 175 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks.
When watching Smith on tape, he follows the action well. He reads and reacts quickly, showing very good acceleration to close quickly on the ball carrier. I like that he has a non-stop motor, which he said is one of his best attributes. He’s aggressive in his pursuit and has some experience dropping back into coverage. Although there were times where he looked stiff in coverage, he doesn’t look completely lost.
Physically, I think that Smith will have to add some weight to his frame to keep from getting mauled in the run game; he looks a lot lighter than his listed 231-lbs.
I like the way Smith plays football. He’s fast, decisive and always around the football. He might not be a starter right away, but I think that with some coaching, he might develop into one down the road, but for now, I expect Smith to use his ability to make a niche for himself on special teams.