NFL Draft: Raiders Five Best Options With Pick #35

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 Preston Smith

Oct 11, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) steps out of the pocket and is chased by Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive lineman Preston Smith (91) during the game at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot to like about Preston Smith. He’s got impressive size (6’5, 271 pounds), long arms, and is quite the athlete. Not saying he’s in the same tier, but athletically, he isn’t too far behind Robert Quinn and Ziggy Ansah.

Smith knows how to use his arm length to his advantage, engaging first and often winning at the point of the attack. He’s got heavy hands and uses them actively and effectively.

He’s also versatile. Smith can bend around the edge and get after the quarterback that way, or he can play the interior and be disruptive that way. Lastly, he’s a sound wrap-up tackler with a great motor, so he knows how to finish plays.

On the downside, Smith does play a bit stiff, and his first step and change of direction leave something to be desired. His pad level can be too high sometimes, allowing offensive lineman to gain leverage on him and push him around.

All in all though, he’s a very good prospect. I’ve got Smith ranked in my top 25, so I’d be thrilled if he were brought on board at pick 35.

Here are a couple plays to provide a visual of what Preston Smith brings to the table.

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