Indianapolis Colts draft profile: DE/OLB Marcus Smith

The second installment, of the much talked about, isportsweb Indianapolis Colts draft profile segment.

Up for examination is Louisville’s Marcus Smith. The Colts are in desperate need of pass rushing help, outside of Robert Mathis, and Smith is a specialist in that department.

Smith recorded 14.5 sacks, with 18.5 tackles for loss, in 2013. He is 6-foot-3, 250-pounds and ran a 4.68 40 yard dash, with a 35” vertical.

But stats don’t tell the whole story, so let’s dive into his tape, shall we?

Run defense:

Smith isn’t the strongest player, and although he tends to run himself up field and out of the play on occasion, he has great instincts and plays the game with intelligence.

Here is an example of a play where he runs a little too far up field. Even though the run was stopped for a negative gain, he could’ve set the edge a little better.

marcus smith runs up field

However, he does often do a solid job of holding the edge as well, even if he isn’t quite strong enough to make a play on the ball himself. He sets up his teammates to do so by filling in his gap, as he did on this play:

smith sets edge

Smith does a great job of forcing the running back to cut back inside, where his teammates are there to make the stop on fourth down.

And, just for good measure, here’s a gif of Smith staying in his gap and making an athletic play on a play action pass:

smith PA defense

Pass rushing:

This is where Smith excels. I love his first step, he’s so quick off the snap it’s great to watch. And he has a developing spin move, which could really be honed with the guidance of Mathis.

I really love his blend of athleticism and instinct, and, for that reason, he has the making to, at least, become a solid pass rusher in the NFL.

And here’s an example of the spin move of which I alluded to earlier:

smith spin move

It really shows off his athleticism, and the pass rushing potential he has heading into the NFL.

The spin move is not the only Mathis-like trait that Smith possesses, he also has a knack for creating strip sacks, with 4 forced fumbles in 2013.

The following is an example of his strip sack ability being displayed:

smith strip sack

Yes, he did go entirely unblocked on his way to the quarterback, but I like the awareness he had to be able to perfectly time the strip.


There was a very small sample size here, as you would expect with a pass rusher, but I liked what I saw for the most part. He seemed athletic and fluid enough to work comfortably in space.

Smith didn’t look awkward when asked to drop back, and the fact that he has experience in coverage, from his time in college, is also a good sign.

He shouldn’t be any more of a liability in coverage than other pass rushing specialists are.

All in all, Smith seems well suited for a 3-4 defense, as about half of his snaps were from a two-point stance (standing up on two feet). And he showed abilities in all facets of his game.

Yes, he is still pretty raw, and could use plenty of coaching, but what prospect doesn’t need mentoring?

He has some work to do with his run stopping abilities, but I love his athleticism and skills in the pass rushing department.

Unless one of the top three safeties, or a truly top tier talent, falls to #59, Smith would be my choice. The Colts need help in the front 7, particularly in the area of getting to the quarterback, and this would be a step in the right direction with that in mind.

Smith has big upside, fits the Colts scheme and fills a need. Sounds like a more than solid option to me. Go Colts!

Smith highlight video:

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