Smith-Williams Making Positive Impression at Shrine Bowl

Brett Friedlander

James Smith-Williams' senior season at NC State didn't go the way he wanted. But if his NFL draft stock was damaged by the series of injuries that limited him to seven games, he's rapidly repairing it with his performance in preparation for the East-West Shrine Bowl in Tampa.

The 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive end has been among the most impressive players on the East team in practices leading up to Saturday's game at Tropicana Field.

Here's what Pewter Report, a site dedicated to coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had to say about the former Wolfpack captain:

"Smith-Williams has great length as a pass rusher on the edge, and as you’ll see (above), he’s strong as well. The NC State product had no issues pulling off a bull rush and sending his opponent all the way to the back of the end zone. Smith-Williams has many different pass rushing moves with each being more creative than the next. He’s made an impact this week getting to the quarterback."

Smith Williams suffered a foot injury early in State's second game of the season, against Western Carolina, and was never completely healthy the rest of the way. He finished with only 20 tackles and one sack, although he did lead the team with seven quarterback pressures

Because of that performance, Jordan Reid of rated Smith-Williams as the defensive lineman with the most to prove at the East-West game:

"James Smith-Williams' off the field resume can be stacked up against any other prospect in this class and most likely come out as the best of the bunch. After completing an internship last summer, he already has a job with IBM waiting for him once his playing career concludes. A long levered defensive end, he has the length and hustle that helped him become a threat for the Wolfpack. Due to durability concerns, his production suffered a dip during his final season in Raleigh. His best year came as a junior where he career highs in total tackles (36), tackles for loss (nine), and sacks (six). Losing that luster during his last season, Smith-Williams now has to prove to evaluators that he wasn't a one-year wonder and that he can regain that type of playing level."

The East-West Shrine Bowl game is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday with television coverage on NFL Network.

As important as the game itself is for the players involved, the week of practices leading up to it can be even more beneficial as an opportunity to display their skills for the multitude of NFL coaches, scouts and general managers that will be in attendance.