Draft Diamonds Spotlight Interview: Rob Smith, DT, Jackson State
While evaluating Jackson State DT Rob Smith, the first thing that pops out is his strength. His man goes backwards, consistently. While that doesn’t always show up on a statline, it shows on the tape. And Rob’s tape is really impressive. He may not be a household name, but Smith could find his way into a camp, and stick.
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
Not too many. I had a lot of schools looking at me from D1-AA to D2 schools but they were not really saying much. Just showing up just to see me in person.
How did you come to make your college decision?
It’s a crazy story now that you ask that. Due to lack of exposure in high school, I and my mother had to send my highlight film to universities all throughout the country. I always told myself I will never settle for anything less than Division I football. Through the grace of God, I had landed at Saint Francis University.
Where are you training, and what are your goals for pro day/combines?
I am training at Competitive Edge Sports (CES) located in Houston. My goals for pro day and combines is to have one of the fastest 40 time in my position at DT as well as put up 30 or above on the bench press.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
I have not met with any scouts personally.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
The difference between me from others is my explosiveness, my strength, my speed, relentlessness, and my agility. A coach can put me anywhere from a NT, DT, or DE and I will dominate no matter what.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
When I watch film I look for footwork, the way the offensive lineman is in his stance, the get off, if the offensive lineman uses his hands on blocks, body lean, aggressiveness, and speed. Stuff like that shows me what I need to work on more in practice.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
Jon Smith. He makes me work harder in practice.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
It would be Geno Atkins. We both display great explosion, power, and swiftness.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle in my life was growing up without a father figure in my life. It used to hurt me a lot that the man that helped birth me was never around the house. Growing up my mom taught me a lot of things in life and how to be independent at a very young age. Now I thank my mom every day for being there for me from the best and worst of times in my life.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I can fit in any defensive scheme that a coach can put me in. Whether it is a 3-4 or 4-3 system, I can adapt to it very well and very quickly.
What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is my get off. The faster I can get my hands in the lineman’s chest, the faster I can dominate him.
What is your biggest weakness?
My biggest weakness is that I tend to underestimate my speed at times and over pursuit the play. Towards the end of the season I began to control it though.
If I were a GM and gave you a minute to sell yourself, what would you say?
I am a hybrid Defensive Lineman who can play both defensive tackle and defensive end. I can play in both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive scheme and I have the speed, strength, and quickness to dominate as a DT/NT/DE. I am a very multidimensional player.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My mother was and still is my role model. Coming from Kingston, Jamaica to the United States she never settled for less and she refused to remain in the struggle. I learned how to be passionate, determined, and relentless from her as a kid.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
My favorite team is the Baltimore Ravens and my favorite player is Warren Sapp. I love the Baltimore Ravens because of their defense and how dominate it is. Warren Sapp will always be my favorite player because when I started to play football in 7th grade, I used to just watch him dominate guys and punish Quarterbacks.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
It would be Oprah, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet. I want to learn from the wealthy and how they became successful in their career.
What would you buy with your first NFL paycheck?
I would simply use it to pay off some of my loans from college.
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