Georgia’s Nolan Smith challenged Northwestern’s Adetomiwa Adebawore for the best performance of day one at the NFL Combine. Smith recorded a 40-yard dash time (4.39s) faster than most players in the 2023 NFL Draft — regardless of position.
Nolan Smith Sets NFL Combine Ablaze
On top of that, Smith jumped 41.5 inches in the vertical jump. This number makes him the heaviest player (238 pounds) to post a sub-4.4 40-yard dash and a 40+ inch vertical in the same NFL Combine.
? Per the NFL Network, Nolan Smith is the heaviest player to have a vertical over 40" & a 40-yard dash less than 4.4 in NFL combine history.
Nolan ran an official 4.39 40-yard dash and jumped a 41.5" vertical at 238 lbs.
— Jon Tweets Sports (@jontweetssports) March 3, 2023
Furthermore, Smith’s 1.52 10-yard split registers as the single best performance by any edge in the history of the Combine. Finally, in the broad jump, Smith covered nearly 11 feet in one jump.
He energized everyone in attendance while working out, becoming the focal point of his designated group. Most people knew that Smith would perform at a high level in Indianapolis, but nobody could have predicted this.
Georgia Bulldogs LB Nolan Smith talks about the impact of playing with Jalen Carter: pic.twitter.com/JrwwWqjcSY
— Greg Braggs Jr. (@GBraggsJr23) March 1, 2023
Smith is as Charismatic as he is Athletic.
Aside from his otherworldly ability on the field, Smith put together one of the most entertaining and passionate interviews of the day. He elaborated on why he loves to stuff the run, even at a relatively smaller size than his peers.
Georgia EDGE Nolan Smith was asked about his mentality when defending the run. Loved his response.
Work ethic and “whatever it takes” was a constant theme at his podium session. pic.twitter.com/VaSXqyaLf1
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) March 1, 2023
“Man, I’m country and all I can say is I’m strong. I don’t look like it but at the point of attack, I like to get after it. You know, I play like my head is on fire.” Smith continued his point by saying, “After practices, I used to go move hay bales. After workouts, after we run.”
Perhaps the funniest part of any interview came when Smith told us about his tampon maneuver on the field. A teammate of his, Solomon Kinley, broke Smith’s nose in his first practice as a freshman. Smith’s solution?
He shoved a tampon up his nose to stop the bleeding. Smith said, “It was leaking. I put a tampon in it, cut it, and we went to work.” As much athletic ability as Smith has, I believe there is even more charisma inside his 238-pound frame.
Potential Fit with Raiders
The Raiders are an interesting spot for Nolan Smith in the 2023 NFL Draft. He lacks the size of most linebackers in the Graham system but is a rare prospect with his elite run-stuffing prowess. It will take some creativity from his play caller, but Smith has the traits to become one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL.
The top ten talks are building steam, according to the chatter at the NFL Combine. I heard multiple folks talk about Smith and how much money he made himself during the week.
No. 7 overall might feel rich, especially given the current needs on the roster, but if Vegas opts to trade down and Smith is still on the board, it would be difficult to pass on him. There is a strong argument that he is worth taking that early.
The tape matches the workout numbers, and the charisma on the screen matches his personality in the interviews. He is a stud, and the Raiders would be lucky to have him on the roster.
*Top Photo: Justin Casterline/Getty Images
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