At this week’s NFL Combine, all eyes are on the 2023 NFL Draft class as we get set for the best part of the offseason. The Buffalo Bills prepare for free agency in the coming days, but first, get a chance to meet many of these prospects before the draft in April.
One area the Bills could opt to look at in the draft is on the defensive line, primarily at edge rusher. It isn’t too pressing of a need, but if you take into consideration how Von Miller’s injury impacted the defense as a whole, the need starts to look a little bit more glaring.
Undoubtedly a first-round talent, Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith could be a fantastic option for the Bills at pick no. 27 overall, should he be on the board still.
It just so happens that the Bills have met with Smith at the Combine this week, and would be extremely fortunate to see him still there late in the first round.
The Buffalo Bills met with Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith at the 2023 NFL Combine
At first glance, Smith is a tad undersized at 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds. But, what he did on the field at this year’s Combine could put that silly stereotype to rest. Plenty of undersized edge rushers have gone on to have success in the NFL, because they’re just flat-out great football players.
Smith missed some of last season at Georgia with a pec injury, but he showed out at the Combine, reminding everyone just how good he is.
Running a 4.39 in his 40-yard dash, Smith put on a show of speed and athleticism which was also evident in his 41.5 inch vertical jump and 10 foot, 8 inch broad jump.
As a pass rusher, Smith looks good, getting into the back field in a hurry. But he’s also a phenomenal run stopper. Because of his athleticism, he’s quick to read the play and wind up behind the line of scrimmage.
In eight games last season with Georgia, Smith tallied 7.0 tackles for loss, including 3.0 sacks. The raw numbers don’t tell the whole story, though, as Smith’s talent goes far beyond what the box scores will show you.
If the Bills could land him at no. 27, their defensive line would be in much better shape without Miller for a chunk of next season.