Redskins take Mississippi State LB Smith in 2nd round
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Washington Redskins second-round draft pick Preston Smith dropped some weight recently - and it had nothing to do with a possible change from defensive end at Mississippi State to outside linebacker in the NFL.
''This process may cause you to be a little nervous and stress yourself out. You may not eat,'' Smith said on a conference call with reporters Friday night. ''But now that it's over, I'm not going to pig out. I'm just going to start to eat.''
After drafting Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff fifth overall Thursday, the Redskins added Smith at No. 38, giving them a potential pass-rushing replacement for 2009 first-round pick Brian Orakpo, who left as a free agent this offseason.
''He's lined up all over the defensive front. He's been a nose guard. ... He's stood up. He can drop in coverage,'' Redskins coach Jay Gruden said about Smith. ''Very long arms, explosive player and there's a lot of spots that he can play.''
Washington entered Day 2 of the draft also holding the 69th overall pick, which came in the third round, but traded that to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for four choices - one each in the third (95th overall), fourth (112th), fifth (167th) and sixth (181st) rounds.
With the 95th pick, the Redskins took Florida running back Matt Jones, a 6-foot-2, 231-pound junior. He injured his left knee in 2013 and played in only five games, but led the Gators in rushing last season.
''He's a little bit different than what we've had around here. He's a downhill, smashmouth-type runner. A physical kid,'' Gruden said. ''We're just going to try to add tough, physical players. That's the whole motto here. ... The tougher the better.''
Gruden said the addition of Jones won't affect the status of Alfred Morris, who ran for at least 1,000 yards each of the past three seasons.
''Alfred's still the running back here ... (and) will be getting the bulk of the carries,'' Gruden said.
Before the draft, new Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan - who used to work for John Schneider in Seattle's front office - spoke about wanting to acquire extra choices.
''We'd love to get more picks in this draft. We have our seven originals right now,'' McCloughan said. ''I'd love to get 10-plus out of this thing.''
Well, he did just that, all in one fell swoop.
''We see there's a lot of merit in the later rounds,'' Gruden said. ''The depth of this draft, we feel like, is pretty good.''
Smith, the team's second-round pick, said he might need to slim down a little after playing as a lineman at Mississippi State. The Redskins want to use him as an outside linebacker in their base 3-4 defense, opposite Ryan Kerrigan.
Smith is listed at 6-foot-5 and 271 pounds, although he said he recently tipped the scales at 265, because of those pre-draft jitters.
He became a full-time starter in college as a sophomore in 2012, totaling 16 sacks and forcing seven turnovers in his career.
Smith said the NFL scouting combine was a good chance to show that he is speedier than some in the league might have thought he was, based purely on his play in college.
''A lot of people didn't believe I could move the way I move, at my size, from the film,'' Smith said. ''They felt like I was slower.''
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