Possesses a compact, athletic frame with good upper and lower body definition. Attacks the line of scrimmage, showing an explosive burst to and through the hole. Sets up defenders with shimmies and shakes to leave them off-balance, showing the jets to explode in either direction as well as the breakaway speed to turn a small crease into a big gain. Stronger than he looks, lowering his shoulder on contact and keeping his legs driving. Reliable receiver out of the backfield, utilizing his quickness to consistently generate separation and showing body control and soft hands to pluck the ball and corral it in one smooth movement. Doesn't shy from contact in blitz pick-up, dropping his pads and butt to anchor better than his marginal build would suggest and shows excellent timing and commitment to cut-blocks, including when blocking downfield for teammates. Terrific durability, missing just one game (Appalachian State, 2014) in four seasons. -- Rob Rang 1/20/2018
Comes with obvious size concerns and lacks ideal power to break tackles, replying upon his quickness to avoid defenders. A bit impatient, at times, running into the backs of his blockers. Possesses good but not elite balance, swinging his arms to change directions quickly and leaving the ball exposed when doing so. Legitimate questions as to how much gas is left in the tank after recording 960 combined rushes and receptions at Southern Miss, including 820 carries... - Rob Rang 1/20/2018
COMPARES TO: Dion Lewis, Patriots - At 5-08, 195 pounds, Lewis is inch shorter than Smith with a similar blend of shiftiness and soft hands to be an ideal weapon in New England's up-tempo, shotgun-based attack.
IN OUR VIEW: The popular narrative with so-called undersized backs like Smith is that they will not hold up to NFL punishment. Smith's production, durability and toughness provide strong counters to this idea, however, serving as Southern Mississippi's unquestioned lead dog over his career, including earning a career-high 41 touches (including 36 rushes for 173 yards) in the Golden Eagles' 2016 season-opening upset of Kentucky. At worst, Smith is a change-of-pace back in the NFL with the grit and all-purpose skills to handle a heavier workload if needed.
SUMMARY: A four-star defensive end recruit out of high school, Rick Leonard played football and lacrosse at Middletown, including two years on varsity at defensive end as he helped guide the team to their third straight Class 2A state championship in 2013 (14 sacks as a senior). He committed to Florida State and after two years as a reserve edge rusher (2.5 tackles for loss, no sacks), he transitioned to offensive tackle, starting 19 games at right tackle over his junior and senior seasons. It was Leonard’s first time playing on the offensive line since pee-wee so his tape is understandably inconsistent. He looks the part with adequate set-up quickness, but he lacks NFL length with wild hand placement and short, choppy steps in his kickslide. Leonard has shaky posture at contact due to straight-legs and high hips, negating his base strength. Overall, Leonard has room to improve at offensive tackle, but his balance issues will be tough to correct, making him a camp project only.
Street possesses a short but compact frame with broad shoulders and very good overall weight distribution, including a stout lower half. Street is a terrific athlete with the lateral agility and burst to quickly close the gap when he has the ballcarrier in his sights. He springs off the snap, exhibiting the burst and core flexibility to get skinny and slice through gaps, proving a consistent penetration threat when lined up inside as well as the juice to challenge the edge when rushing from the defensive end position. Street shows good coordination between his hands and feet, syncing a quick over-arm swim move with his lower body twists and torque. He is quick to turn and locate the ball, showing agility, acceleration and effort in his lateral and downfield pursuit. Street's closing speed and compact frame help him generate explosive tackling power with some big pops on tape... Durable player with 46 game appearances at NC State... He is a very good athlete who may put up eye-popping test numbers... - Rob Rang 1/31/2018
Possesses a classic 'tweener frame and game, lacking the bulk to hold up at the point of attack as a full-time defensive tackle, as well as the length teams want outside as a defensive end. Relies upon his initial quickness and agility to evade blockers at the point of attack, getting driven backwards due to below average size and functional strength... A better athlete than football player; late to recognize screens and draws. - Rob Rang 1/31/2018
Mario Edwards, Jr., Raiders - Like the 6-3, 280 pound Edwards, Street offers positional versatility, showing the raw athleticism to wow in workouts and spark big plays behind the line of scrimmage. To this point, both have proven more of complementary players than true stars in their own right but in today's era of pass-happy offenses and sub-packages on defense, that can still result in a top 100 grade and significant role with their NFL teams.
IN OUR VIEW
Street was overshadowed at NC State but he is an explosive athlete perhaps better suited to the pass-happy NFL than the ACC, showcasing the blend of size, speed and agility to play multiple roles in a traditional 4-3 scheme. A splashy effort at the East-West Shrine Game and anticipated good showing in workouts could lead to a steady post-season rise up the board with a Day Two selection possible.
Richardson possesses a massive frame with broad shoulders and a powerful, well-distributed musculature including a stout base. He is surprisingly quick off the ball for a man of his size, showing the initial burst to flank, turn and seal defensive ends to create a running lane off the edge, as well as good agility and balance to shuffle laterally in pass protection. Richardson appears to have long enough arms to remain outside and is very strong, showing the powerful hands and core strength to generate movement at the point of attack. He plays with adequate knee bend and plays on the balls of his feet with his butt down, allowing him to anchor effectively. Richardson saw starting action over three seasons with no known serious injuries in his past. - Rob Rang 1/20/2018
Richardson possesses a frame better suited to guard than tackle, a position he did not play at NC State with some extra weight around his middle. Richardson shows impressive initial quickness and agility for a player of his size but is a potential liability on the edge against NFL-caliber speed rushers. Further, he can get wild with his hand placement, too often allowing them to drift outside of defenders' numbers and resulting in too many slipped blocks. His suspensions require significant vetting, as do previous concerns about maturity and work ethic. - Rob Rang 1/20/2018
COMPARES TO: Joseph Barksdale, Chargers - The powerful 6-5, 326 pound Barksdale was a big part of LSU's success running the ball and has held up outside at right tackle since with the Chargers due to his bulk, length and strength.
IN OUR VIEW: Richardson starred at tackle for the Wolfpack but his powerful frame suggests a move inside to guard may be in his future. Fortunately, Richardson possesses the initial quickness and raw power to handle this conversion if - perhaps a big if - he fully commits to his craft.
Possesses a prototypical build for a modern day edge rusher with broad shoulders, vines for arms and a tapered athletic frame with good overall weight distribution. Flashes good initial burst to cross the face of tackles off either side, incorporating strong, accurate hands to slap away at the reach of would-be blockers and showing good flexibility to dip his shoulder while accelerating around the arc. Raw athleticism shows in his ability to chase down ball-carriers, generating impressive closing speed and an explosive stopping power. Much stronger at the point of attack than his frame suggests, bending at the knees to anchor effectively and using his length and upper body strength to bench press would-be blockers, disengaging quickly when he sees the ball nearby. Uses his long arms to lasso ball-carriers, showing the strength to rip them to the ground or trip them up from behind. Improved awareness of passing lanes with half of his six career passes broken up coming in 2017... -- Rob Rang 1/6/2018
Is not the sum of his parts, showing less-than-ideal instincts for the position, too often losing sight of the ball and, at times, getting stuck on blocks. Flashes the initial burst to beat tackles upfield but did not consistently beat opponents with a speed rush, relying more on twists and stunts to free him up and using his burst as a complementary piece rather than as a go-to strategy that opponents must account for... Seemed to favor his surgically-repaired leg, at times, and possesses very long legs, which could leave him vulnerable to future injuries. Further, Sweat shows just average awareness among edge rushers to cut blocks and does not possess ideal lateral agility to catch elusive ball-carriers in space, too often failing to break down effectively and resorting to lunging. A bit hot and cold in terms of his lateral and downfield pursuit. Raised questions about his commitment to the team with the business decision to sit out the Independence Bowl, the final game of his college career. Comes with obvious medical red-flags due to multiple surgeries on his left knee, which will require a careful evaluation at the Combine. - Rob Rang 1/6/2018
COMPARES TO: Olivier Vernon, Giants - A disappointing suspension-shortened final season at the University of Miami dropped Vernon to the third round of the 2012 draft but that is where the team that perhaps scouted him the most - the Dolphins - struck gold. Though his surgically-repaired knee obviously will impact Sweat's final draft status, he flashes the upfield burst and bend to be a legitimate threat off the edge and (like Vernon before him), his best football may still be ahead of him. Vernon, who recorded a total of nine sacks in three seasons at The U, has 44.5 sacks over six years in the NFL, with 15.5 coming over the past two seasons with New York.
IN OUR VIEW:If his surgically-repaired left knee checks out with team doctors at the Combine, Sweat could make a late climb up draft boards as (pardon the pun) this kid is dripping with potential. He is built exactly as NFL teams want edge rushers to look, flashing the burst, bend and power to live up to his lofty pre-injury billing. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If teams are not comfortable with Sweat's recovery, the former blue chip prospect could be in long for a long wait on draft weekend.