STRENGTHS - Smith has good height and length for the position, and should be able to add needed bulk to his frame. He is a very good athlete that is tough to contain on the edge because of his ability to bend and dip around the corner, as well as change speeds and directions in a heartbeat. He has very active hands which helps him keep blockers from locking onto his frame and allows him to set up a variety of pass rush moves. Smith is also very productive on stunts, as his ability to change directions fluidly and accelerate from a dead stop make it difficult for slower blockers to contain him. He plays to the whistle on every snap, which allows him to be extremely productive on extended plays. He does an excellent job of engaging his blocker at the POA while keeping his head up, which allows him to quickly locate the ball and prevents him from being fooled by PA or misdirection.
WEAKNESSES - At times Smith gets caught playing too high off the snap, which allows blockers to get into his frame and control him at the LOS. He will need to add 15-20 lbs. in order to help him better anchor at the POA on run plays. He is not an innately explosive athlete, which means he has to rely on his technique, agility and effort to be an effective pass rusher on the edge. He also lacks solid top end speed, which limits his ability to make plays in pursuit from the backside, and puts him out of position and unable to recover on outside runs to his side if he doesn't hold containment off the snap. Although he was effective with his hands at the college level, he needs to learn a wider variety of moves in order to reach his potential as a pass rusher at the next level. Smith tore his left ACL in November.
SUMMARY - Quanterus Smith made quite the statement on opening weekend of the 2012 season when he registered three sacks against eventual national champion Alabama, and continued to dominate his competition as a pass rusher until tearing his left ACL in November. Although he does not have an explosive first step and does not have the top end speed to chase effectively downfield, he is a fluid athlete with natural bend, which allows him to play at such a low level when rushing the passer that bigger offensive tackles struggle to get down to his level. He plays with aggressive hands and shows very good read and react skills, which allows him to defeat blockers while still flowing to the ball effectively. He needs to diversify his pass rush skill set, but considering his violent hand usage, QAB and high motor, I fully expect that his best days are ahead of him. Although he isn't strong enough at the POA to play the run effectively at this stage, his ability to rush the passer would likely have made him a day two selection if he were healthy. Regardless, as long as his knee heels properly, he should develop into at the very least a dangerous pass rush specialist as a 43 DE or 34 OLB.