FSU Draft Profile: LB Telvin Smith has value as a niche prospect

Former FSU LB Telvin Smith was the unquestioned emotional leader of last year’s championship team. He was also one of the top playmakers on a defense that led the country in points allowed per game and interceptions.

The Chopping Block continues its analysis of FSU’s draft-eligible prospect with Smith, who could make it as a niche player in the NFL.


Draft projection: Mid 1st round; Ht/Wt: 6-2, 299; Class: Jr.; The Buzz: The anchor of FSU's No. 1 scoring defense, Jernigan had 63 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in his first season as a fulltime starter. Regularly drew double teams and slowed down Auburn's dynamic running attack in championship game.

Telvin Smith

Position: Linebacker

Class: Senior


Draft Stock

Projection: Mid-2nd to late 3rd round.

Smith seemed destined to be a 2nd rounder, but the report of a failed drug test could scare away teams who liked Smith because of his strong character.


Height: 6-3

Weight: 218

Other: 4.52 40-yard dash. …31.5 inch vertical jump. 


2013: 90 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 3 INT (2 for TDs)

Career: 304 tackles, 31.5 TFL


Scouting Report

Strengths: Rangy, sideline-to-sideline type player with experience playing inside and outside. …One of the better cover LBs in the country. …A vocal leader in the middle of the defense. …Good instincts against the run and a decent tackler.  

Weaknesses: Lack of size is a concern. He was protected by a great defensive line in college and there is a concern that he may not be able to routinely take on blocks in the NFL. …Only has one year as a full-time starter.

Scout says:

“Smith has awesome closing burst and overall range to cover the entire field and is like a running back on defense, avoiding blocks with swivel hips and the exciting speed to explode with sharp angles. His lack of bulk and growth potential are impossible to ignore and something that will always limit him, especially when trying to shed blocks. Smith is heady, competitive and always hustles, but likely his only fit as a starter will be as a weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.”

– Dane Brugler, CBS Sports



Telvin Smith’s lack of bulk undoubtedly hurts his ability to fit in with every NFL team, but those looking for a fast LB to adapt to an increasingly pass-oriented league will see value in him. Smith could go in the 2nd round, but could fall a round or two because he is a niche prospect. 


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