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Za'Darius Smith | Defensive End

Team: Kentucky Wildcats
Ht / Wt:  6'6' / 263

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TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline writes that Kentucky senior DE Za'Darius Smith "impressed a lot of scouts last season."
The JUCO transfer collected 59 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in his first try against SEC competition last year. "Smith impressed a lot of scouts last season, his first at UK, and seriously considered entering the draft before making the right decision by returning for his senior season," Pauline wrote. "He’s a long athlete who flashes pass rush skill though I worry about his speed and overall athleticism." Pauline gives the senior a Round 4 grade. Sep 2 - 7:33 PM

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Kentucky senior DE Za'Darius Smith is "bigger and stronger this year after spending time in Kentucky's strength and conditioning program," reports CBS Sports' Rob Rang.

The JUCO transfer laughed off the jump in competition last year, collecting 59 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and six sacks in his first try against SEC competition. If the spring game is any indication -- sack, tackle for loss and an interception -- he's ready for bigger things in 2014. "He lacks the top-notch burst most teams prefer at the RDE position but does a nice job of getting left tackles to lean to their outside and then countering back inside with power," Rang wrote. "Smith utilizes heavy hands and good core strength to generate consistent pressure but is more of a complementary rusher, rather than a featured threat, at this time. He doesn't change directions or accelerate fluidly enough to make the transition to linebacker and needs to protect his legs better from cut blocks."
Source: CBS Sports
Aug 17 - 12:24 AM

Kentucky junior DE Za'Darius Smith will return for his senior season.

Smith started the season on fire, opening with 4.5 sacks in the first three games of the season, but those numbers tailed off to six to end the year. He was beating offensive tackles with an outside rip, something future opponents picked up on. The JUCO transfer can attempt to improve his game with one more season.
Wed, Dec 18, 2013 10:54:00 AM