Why Nolan Smith would be perfect fit for Saints in 2023 NFL Draft

The New Orleans Saints own the 29th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. There are many ways this can go, of course, but they could use more depth on their defensive line. Here we’ll look at the reasons why Nolan Smith would be a perfect fit for the New Orleans Saints in the 2023 NFL Draft.

As the 2023 NFL Draft approaches, the Saints have one clear priority that should take precedence over everything else. They obviously have to set up their roster for success. With the defensive line having been decimated in free agency, it should be their main focus heading into the draft.

As we all know, games are won and lost in the trenches. This is especially true in today’s NFL. The Saints need to put pressure on their opponents’ quarterbacks, whether they’re up against a young stud or a questionable player. By adding to their already talented defense with some pass-rushers and run-stuffers from a loaded draft class, the Saints can help themselves out in this regard.

Looking ahead to the 2023 NFL Draft, there’s a lot of speculation and excitement about what the Saints will do. But it’s important for them to stay focused and not get too caught up in the hype. By building from the inside out with their newly acquired stable quarterback, they can set themselves up for success in the long term.

When it comes to the Saints’ first-round selection, there are many different directions the Saints could go in. However, given Marcus Davenport’s move to the Minnesota Vikings and the team’s lack of pass rush, it seems likely that they’ll look to bolster their defensive front.

This is where Georgia Bulldogs senior Nolan Smith enters the picture. Some may say that he does not seem like a typical fit for the Saints. On the flip side, that’s precisely why they should consider taking a chance on him. Rather than continuing to line up tall, project players from small schools on the edge, and hope for the best, why not try something new? Smith may be undersized, but he’s a quick-twitch athlete who plays much bigger than his size. With the right coaching, he could develop into a valuable asset for the Saints. That’s both in terms of adding weight to his frame and improving his pass coverage skills.

Let’s look at the reasons why Nolan Smith would be perfect for the Saints.

1. Smith fills a real need

Although the Saints were able to retain future Hall of Famer Cameron Jordan, they have lost key players like Trey Hendrickson and Marcus Davenport to free agency. However, Georgia’s Nolan Smith could provide a solution to their problems. He has the potential to initially become a situational producer before settling into a regular role as an end for the Saints’ defensive-minded coordinator, Dennis Allen.

Smith is a unique prospect in this year’s draft class. Much like Anthony Richardson, he is an exceptional athlete. This was proven by his record-breaking 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds at the combine. Out of the 46 edge rushers tested, only Von Miller has run a faster time (4.42). Additionally, Smith’s 1.47-second 10-yard split is the best in the class. In fact, his 41 1/2-inch vertical jump is second only to Cameron Wake’s 45 1/2 inches.

However, there are still some concerns surrounding Smith’s size and lack of sack production. He weighs in at 238 pounds. That’s only one pound heavier than Haason Reddick. He also has the smallest hands out of the 33 players in the edge sample with hand measurements. Furthermore, despite playing four college seasons, Smith only recorded a total of 12 1/2 sacks, with his best season being 4 1/2 sacks. While there are explanations for this, it’s worth noting that Michael Bennett is the only player out of the 46 elite edge rushers who played four college seasons and had a college-best season of 3 1/2 sacks. Recall that Bennett went undrafted.

Get your week started with the definition of a DAMN good dawg. Gonna miss the heck out of Nolan Smith

— Baxter Street Boys (@baxstboys) February 6, 2023

2. Smith had a great combine

Nolan Smith’s performance at the NFL Combine was outstanding, showcasing his athleticism and skill in various drills. Yes, again, he does not fit the prototype that the Saints typically look for. Still, his exceptional speed and explosiveness make him a valuable addition to the defensive line. Although he does not have stellar production numbers, we can attribute this to the rotation of players at Georgia football. With his unique combination of speed and power, Smith could be the missing piece for the Saints.

3. Smith gives 100 percent effort

Smith has a solid frame that he can still add mass to, making him an impressive NFL rusher. He is a dynamic player who was a leader on and off the field for Georgia, with his relentless effort setting him apart from others in the draft class. He also has a really polished run defense. With proper NFL coaching, Smith has the potential to develop his pass-rush moves. He would be a valuable addition to the Saints, who need to improve their depth along the defensive line, especially with Davenport’s departure in free agency.

The post Why Nolan Smith would be perfect fit for Saints in 2023 NFL Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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