With the Cincinnati Bengals bagging their offensive tackle of the future, we look forward to the rest of this weekend.
SB Nation released their second round mock draft, sending Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith to the Bengals at No. 53. "The Bengals brought back Michael Johnson but need to continue improving the pass rush," writes Mocking the Draft's Dan Kadar. Stephen White wrote an excellent analysis of Smith, who generated nine quarterback sacks, 15 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) during his final collegiate season.
NFL.com writes of Smith:
Smith has been a solid, rotational defensive end for Mississippi State, but nothing too special. When studying tape long enough, you see traits and potential. With his long arms, plus hands and ability to play the run, Smith could be an interesting prospect inside or in a hybrid 3-4 front. As a 4-3 defensive end, he lacks the twitch to be an impact player.
College Football Focus (the new initiative at Pro Football Focus) likes Smith:
It is very easy to get carried away with pass rushing potential and explosiveness but that isn’t the game of every pass rusher entering the draft and that isn’t the game of every successful defensive end in the NFL, either. Preston Smith, therefore, would be easy to overlook as a player without the raw explosion to be a dominant edge rusher but that ignores everything else that the former Mississippi Bulldog brings to the game.
A powerful defender, Smith is among the best in this class against the run and while far from overwhelming off the edge, his ability to kick inside and rush the passer as a nose tackle (as illustrated by his performance at 0-tech against LSU) should allow him to stay on the field for three downs in the NFL.
Dane Brugler with CBS Sports sticks with the same position but selects a different player for the Bengals at No. 53 -- he had Smith going at No. 57 to the Carolina Panthers. For the Bengals, Brugler has Cincinnati selecting LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter:
The Bengals ranked near the bottom of the league in sacks and pocket pressures last season and a player of Hunter's ability will help upgrade the pass rush.
College Football Focus ranks him as the second-best prospect against the run, generating a stop rate of 12.3.