Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi once famously said a team can never have too many pass rushers. And apparently, current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman must agree.
The Giants double-dipped into the edge-rushing class, selecting Northern Iowa defender Elerson Smith in the fourth round of the draft (No. 116 overall). The 6’6” 245-pound redshirt junior didn’t get a chance to play last season due to the school canceling the program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he has appeared in 874 defensive snaps for UNI, 411 as a run defender, and 452 as a pass rusher, posting 75 total pressures (including 14 acks) and 37 tackles with 45 stops.
Here is NFL Draft Bible’s scouting report on Smith:
Traits are very important at the defensive end position. Length, flexibility, athleticism; it’s all paramount to on-field success. Those are traits that Smith possesses in spades. Gaining over 60 pounds during his collegiate career, Smith boasts a long frame that should be able to continue to add mass and carry a substantial amount of weight moving forward. The productive FCS rusher is a gifted athlete for his size, explosive in short areas with a lot of speed working around the track. The hand usage for Smith is surprising, showing active hands to work inside of opposing blockers’ frames. More linear than bendy, Smith is a little high cut and lacks transitional quickness to redirect well in space. He will need to continue to get bigger in order to anchor well against NFL offensive linemen. Slightly raw, Smith will need to add more pass-rush moves to his repertoire. With some continued development, he could be the day three developmental pass rusher who firmly exceeds early expectations.
And here's what Nick Falato had to say about Smith in his preview of Day 3 options for the Giants:
Smith didn’t have the opportunity to play in 2020 due to COVID-19 and Northern Iowa being an FCS program, but he made up for it in 2021 at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Smith was versatile and was easily defeating Power-5 players on offense. He did a great job getting horizontal, or skinny, through interior gaps in team drills while showing bend through contact and a more refined pass rush plan than I had originally anticipated. He is a great upside pick on day three of the draft.
Smith, like most of the other Giants draft picks so far, participated in the Senior Bowl. According to The Draft Network, Smith was one of the standouts in the Senior Bowl game.
He has great length and athleticism that jumps out on tape, and because of his showing at the Senior Bowl, he was quietly generating a lot of buzz among the NFL scouting community.